Alternative therapies, once the province of the hippie counterculture, are now a mainstream phenomenon. But they are more than a medical and economic sensation. At once spiritual and bodily, medical and recreational, they are an enormously popular cultural practice bound up with the pleasure-seeking drive of consumer culture as well as with spiritual and neo-liberal values.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine critically examines this phenomenon - which some denounce as the triumph of superstition over reason - by asking practitioners themselves what makes these therapies so appealing.
Drawing on a wealth of interviews with Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practitioners as well as on the author's longstanding participation in CAM culture, the book provides a much needed look from both the inside and the outside of the CAM phenomenon. This book is essential reading for students and scholars of cultural studies, anthropology, sensory studies and sociology.
Ruth Barcan is Senior Lecturer at the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies, University of Sydney. She is the author of Nudity: A Cultural Anatomy (Berg, 2004).
Chapter 1: Introduction Chapter 2: Vision: The Power of Sight Chapter 3: Sound: Good Vibrations Chapter 4: Touch: Knowing Touch: Bodywork Chapter 5: The Sixth Sense: Intuition Conclusion Bibliography Index