email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy10 Minute Solution: Butt Lift10 Minute Solution: High Intensity Interval Training101 Ways to Meditate3-In-1 Total Body Fitness with Desi Bartlett30 Minute Ab & Butt Blaster5 Day Fit Yoga5 Mega Miles with Toning Band7 Weeks to 100 Push-Ups8 Keys to Practicing MindfulnessA Journey Into Yin YogaA Philosophy for the Science of Well-BeingA Student's Guide to the History And Philosophy of Yoga A.M. EnergyAgeless Mobility: Pain-Free Wellness For LongevityAlmost MeatlessAlready FreeAlternative Medicine?AltruismAnd BreatheAnywhere, Anytime, Any Body YogaAthlete's Guide to YogaBack in Action: Yoga for a Healthy BackBack To Basics: Fitness with Charlotte OrdBalanced AssetsBedroom Body: Booty Burner, Core & Pelvic Floor WorkoutBeginners Meditation & Mindful StretchingBeginners Yoga DVDBeginning YogaBellyFit ElementsBethenny's Skinnygirl WorkoutBeyond the SelfBody By BethennyBody Mindful YogaBorn to Balance - Balance BasicsBreath-Centered YogaBrightening Our Inner SkiesCalm Body Clear MindCalm Focus JoyCardio for Beginners with Petra KolberChakra MeditationsComplementary and Alternative Therapies ResearchContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsCore Fusion - Pilates PlusCore Fusion - Pure Abs & ArmsCore Fusion - Thighs & GlutesCore Fusion Body SculptCore Fusion Lean & TonedCore Fusion Power SculptCore Strength PilatesCore Strength Vinyasa Yoga Power Hour with Sadie NardiniCore YogaCultural Healing and Belief SystemsDance Off the Inches: Cardio Hip Hop PartyDeep ListeningDeep Stretch / Yin YogaDetox YogaDr. Andrew Weil's Guide to Eating WellDr. Yoga House CallEasy YogaElement: Barre ConditioningElement: Targeted Toning Pilates for BeginnersElement: Yoga for Stress Relief & FlexibilityElements of Yoga, Earth FoundationsElements of Yoga, Fire DynamicElements of Yoga: Air & WaterEveryday Workout for the Everyday WomanEveryday Yoga for Stress Release Everything VeganExercise for Mood and AnxietyExercise-Based Interventions for Mental IllnessExhale Core Fusion 30 Day SculptFamily YogaFit Family Fun CircuitFit in 5 DVDFlat Abs PilatesFlow YogaFluid Power Vinyasa Flow YogaFood You Can ForageFully PresentGaiam Pilates Slide and Sculpt Kit with DVDGaiam Pilates Total Toning KitGaiam Yoga For Weight Loss KitGet Fit Through GardeningGet Ripped & ChiseledGet RIPPED! 1000 #3Get RIPPED! and Jacked - The Boomer WorkoutGet Stronger Bones: 3 Workouts For OsteoporosisHandbook of MindfulnessHappy Yoga DVDHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHealing through ExerciseHealing Through Movement: Pilates Head to ToeHealing, Hype, or Harm?Healthy Sexy Beautiful Kundalini YogaHemalayaa: Bollywood BootyHow to Be a StoicHow to Cook Everything VegetarianHow Would Buddha Act?In Defense of FoodInsight Yoga Earth: Balancing Yin EnergyInsight Yoga Heaven: Balancing YangIntegrated YogaInternational Perspectives on Reminiscence, Life Review and Life Story WorkKids Teach Yoga - Flying EagleKidYogi - Yoga for ChildrenKripalu YogaKundalini Yoga : DVDKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - MONDAYKUNDALINI YOGA for Your Week - TUESDAY - CoreKundalini Yoga MeditationKundalini Yoga Meditation for Beginners & BeyondKundalini Yoga Meditation for Complex Psychiatric DisordersKundalini Yoga on the BallKundalini Yoga Solar Power All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga to Detox and Destress DVDKundalini Yoga Transformer All-In-One WorkoutKundalini Yoga: Green Energy of the HeartLetting Go!LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues--Level 1LifeForce Yoga to Beat the Blues: Level 2Living BeautifullyLiving Room Yoga DVDLiving Room Yoga: Twist and BendLunar Flow YogaMake It Fast, Cook It SlowManage Your Depression Through ExerciseMaui PilatesMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for Back PainMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for IBSMayo Clinic Wellness Solutions for InsomniaMeditations for BeginnersMindful AmericaMindful ColoringMindfulnessMindfulnessMindfulness for BeginnersMindfulness for CarersMindfulness for TwoMindfulness in Plain EnglishMindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches: Clinician's Guide to Evidence Base and ApplicationsMisadventures of a Garden State YogiNamaste Yoga: Season 3 Part 1Natural FlexibilityNew Good FoodNew VegetarianNew York PilatesNext-Level PilatesNutrition Essentials for Mental HealthPain Free at WorkPeace Is Every BreathPerfect in Ten AbsPerfect in Ten: PilatesPerfect in Ten: StretchPerfect in Ten: YogaPilates AnatomyPilates for BeginnersPositivityPower to the Peaceful YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower YogaPower Yoga: Core PowerPower Yoga: Fat BurnerPower Yoga: Strength and FlexibilityPrenatal FlowPrescriptive StretchingPresence Through Movement: Yin YogaPsychology Moment by MomentPure and Simple YogaPure SculptQi Gong Fire & Water With Matthew CohenQi Gong Flow for BeginnersQi Gong for Low Back PainQi Gong for Upper Back and Neck PainQi Gong for Weight LossQi Workout AM/PMQiGong for Healthy Joints & BonesQiGong IllustratedQuick Blast MethodRadiant Heart Yoga DVDReach - Upbeat Toning & Flexibility for a Dancer's BodyRelax Into Yoga for SeniorsResistance Stretching With Dara TorresRestorative Yoga PracticeRestorative Yoga PracticeSara Ivanhoe's Taste DVDSelfless InsightSleepSoupsSparkSpontaneous HappinessStep By Step Strength TrainingStep by Step Tai ChiStrength & SpiritStress Relief to GoStretchStrong & SculptedStrong Body, Ageless BodySuper Seniors: Box, Balance, & Lift Surf Yoga SoulSybel's Yoga For Sports & FitnessSybel's Yoga For Sports & Fitness Vol 2Tai Chi for Beginners with Grandmaster William C. C. ChenTeen YogaTeenYogi DVDTen Zen Tummy TonersThe 6 Qualities of ConsciousnessThe Accidental VeganThe Art and Science of MindfulnessThe Athlete's Guide to YogaThe Best Things You Can EatThe Bodymind Ballwork MethodThe Booty Barre -Total New BodyThe Complete Book of Raw FoodThe Get Healthy, Go Vegan CookbookThe Harvard Medical School Guide to YogaThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Healing Remedies SourcebookThe Kettlebell BoomerThe Light of DiscoveryThe Mandala of BeingThe Meat Lover's Meatless CookbookThe Mindful Way through DepressionThe Nature FixThe Origins of HappinessThe Perfect ExerciseThe Psychology of LifestyleThe Qi Healing KitThe Road to Calm WorkbookThe Science of SleepThe Science of YogaThe Sense of SelfThe Spirit of Buddhist MeditationThe Spirit of Tibetan BuddhismThe Ultimate BALLET YOGAThe Ultra MindsetThe Well-Tuned BrainThe Yin Yoga KitTotal Health the Chinese WayTotal-Body ToningTransform Yourself with Jivamukti YogaTransformative YogaTrudie Styler's Cardio Dance FlowTrudie Styler's Warrior YogaV-Core WorkoutVegan ExpressVegan for LifeVegetarian Visitor 2008VegetarianoViniyoga Therapy for the Low Back, Sacrum and HipsViniyoga Therapy for the Upper Back, Neck and ShouldersViva Vegan!Walk It Off in 30 DaysWalk to the HITS Radio RemixesWatch Me Do YogaWeight Loss Cardio KickWeight Watchers: Ultimate Belly SeriesYin and Yang YogaYin Yoga DVDYogaYogaYoga - Philosophy for EveryoneYoga : Beginners Flow for EveryoneYoga AnatomyYoga as MedicineYoga Bliss HipsYoga BodyYoga Body : Lean & Defined Total Body WorkoutYoga By Teens DVDYoga Emergency DVD: Arms & ShouldersYoga Emergency DVD: BackYoga Emergency DVD: Full Leg StretchYoga Emergency DVD: HipsYoga Emergency DVD: PregnancyYoga Flow DVDYoga for AnxietyYoga for AthletesYoga for Back CareYoga for BeginnersYoga for Energy & Stress ReliefYoga for FitnessYoga for MeditatorsYoga for OsteoporosisYoga for Pain ReliefYoga for Strength & EnergyYoga for Strength & FlexibilityYoga for Your WeekYoga in BedYoga Inside Out: Go DeeperYoga Inside Out: The Healing WayYoga Journal's Yoga for StressYoga Journal: Yoga for Strength and Toning DVDYoga Link: Core IntegrationYoga Link: Hip HelpersYoga Link: Shoulder Shape-UpYoga Nidra for Complete Relaxation and Stress ReliefYoga Quick FixesYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga TherapyYoga TherapyYoga Therapy for Back PainYoga Therapy Prescriptions - 60 Health Restorative SequencesYoga to the Rescue - Feel Good from Head to ToeYoga to the Rescue for Back PainYoga to the Rescue for Neck & ShouldersYoga to the Rescue for Pain-Free Back, Neck & ShouldersYoga, Karma, and RebirthYoga: Freedom from Back PainYoga: Relief from Neck and Shoulder PainYoga: Spirit of Vinyasa FlowYogabodyYogawomanYou Can Think Yourself ThinYour Body Breakthru - Your Best Body Circuit DVDYour Brain on Food: How Chemicals Control Your Thoughts and Feelings,Your Brain on YogaZen Encounters with Loneliness
Roberta Bivins sets herself an ambitious aim with this book: to "examine medical systems from several global cultures ... and consider their interactions over four centuries", from the seventieth to the twentieth. These centuries "were in many ways transformative both of western medicine and of the western ad non-western worlds". The book wants to guide us through the changes that gave medicine -- both orthodox and alternative -- the shape it has today.
The histories of orthodox and alternative medicines are deeply connected. Bivins in fact explains that "to have medical systems, theories, and practices that can properly be regarded as alternative, one must have a recognized, definable, and at least relatively stable orthodoxy to which they oppose themselves"; accordingly, the book is widely concerned with orthodox medicine, its development and the way it faced the appearance of different medical systems. The book is a history of alternative medicine in so far as it is a history of western orthodox medicine.
A long introduction --following a short preface -- gives a wide overview of the landscape Bivins is going to describe. She sets here "the stage by describing and comparing classical and modern western medicine, Ayurveda, and Chinese medicine".
We discover the importance of starting her historical journey from the seventieth century: this allows us to appreciate that for a long time medicine has been very different from the medicine we now know and, in some respects, similar to alternative medicines. It was in fact characterized by a holistic approach: connections among body, mind, society and environment were at the hearth of medical culture and health was seen as a complex balance of humors. The body of patients was seldom touched and surgery was extremely rare: it was a "desperate last resort", painful and dangerous.
Although there were many important differences -- "material, theoretical, and institutional" -- among medical systems, Bivins argues that "medicine in pre-modern world" ignores the distinction between western and non western, orthodox and non-orthodox medicines. This situation "endured into the eighteenth century".
In this century, however, important changes occurred. With the rise of European imperialism, medicine became "a representative aspect of culture" and "European models of natural knowledge and medicine" consolidate. Just as in the previous century, there has been a careful observation of other medical systems, but this time with a hostile attitude. European medicine, Bivins claims, becomes a "metric for assessing the relative standing and progress of civilizations". These changes don't go hand in hand with relevant changes in medical practice. It is only in the course of the nineteenth century, in fact, that the idea of a 'scientific' medicine appears: experiments get more and more important, just as body observation. The idea of an orthodoxy is strengthening.
During the twentieth century, we assist the industrialization of medicine, that is to the "increase in the complexity of medical organization and technologies, and in the number of specializations". It is now that we can start to talk properly of alternative, complementary and orthodox medicine.
After the depiction of this scenario, the following four chapters follow closely the interplay between western and alternative medical systems.
In the first chapter, Bivins analyzes western attitude toward acupuncture and moxabustion between the late seventeenth century ant the eighteenth one. She focuses on the reports of some European practitioners. There is a quite complete ignorance of the theories supporting alternative medical systems and, accordingly, the attempt to explain them in terms of western medical knowledge.
In the second chapter, we see the originating orthodox medicine facing mesmerism and homeopathy between the eighteenth and the twentieth century. Born as innovations inside European orthodox medicine, they soon gain the hostility of traditional medicine.
In the third chapter, we are led back to acupuncture and homeopathy, but this time Bivins is concerned with what happens in the nineteenth century to inquire whether the different responses to them can be accounted for in terms of their different origins. The first was in fact born in China and the second in Europe. She moreover argues that this is an extremely important period for medicine, since the divide between orthodoxy and heterodoxy gets deeper. Ironically, the strengthening of homeopathy contributed to it: it had the effect to unify all the regulars against it.
In the fourth chapter Bivins focuses on the responses to cross-cultural exchange in non-western world, reporting the responses both of indigenous and western people. She goes back to mesmerism and homeopathy but she also analyzes the origins of a new western theory, germ theory.
It is not very easy to follow Bivins in these chapters and to reconcile them with the wider picture depicted in the introduction. They give good snapshots, but the reader can easily lose of sight the overall view.
On the other side, nonetheless, her analysis is always very detailed. This aspect, together with a rich bibliography -- in which she adds some comments about the books she recommends -- makes the book a good starting point for everyone interested in this topic.
This path leads us, in the conclusion, to the analysis of the medical scenery of our days. Bivins underlines the differences in comparison to what has been shown in the previous chapters. Many changes have occurred in practitioners' and lays' attitudes toward different medical systems, in the possibility to get to alternative remedies and to know their origins and their stories, in communication of new discoveries and their effectiveness, in the relationship between practitioners and patients, in the power of orthodox medicine and its spread all over the world, in the factors influencing medicine.
At the very end of the book, Bivins suggests that maybe the most important change is "that more people have the chance to see medicine from other cultures in practice, on the ground, with their own eyes -to judge for themselves if qi or prana are more or less credible, comprehensible, and intellectually attractive than neurotransmitters or the Krebs cycle".
© 2011 Silvia Di Paolo
Silvia Di Paolo is a Ph.D. student from the University of Rome La Sapienza. Her main fields of interests are logic, philosophy of logic, and history of logic. In the past few years, she has been focusing on the work of Frege. She is now concerned with Brandom's reading of Frege as an inferentialist.