The Anthropology of Alternative Medicine  book cover
1st Edition

The Anthropology of Alternative Medicine

ISBN 9781845208028
Published January 1, 2012 by Routledge
192 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $45.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Alternative medicine is not a fashionable new trend but an established cultural strategy, as well as a dynamic feature of mainstream contemporary medicine, in which elements of folk traditions are often blended with western scientific approaches.The Anthropology of Alternative Medicine is a concise yet wide-ranging exploration of non-biomedical healing. The book addresses a broad range of practices including: substance, energy and information flows (e.g. helminthic therapy); spirit, consciousness and trance (e.g. shamanism); body, movement and the senses (e.g. reiki and aromatherapy); as well as classical medical traditions as complements or alternatives to Western biomedicine (e.g. Ayurveda). Exploring the cultural underpinnings of contemporary healing methods, while assessing current ideas, topics and resources for further study, this book will be invaluable to undergraduate and graduate students in anthropology, sociology, psychology, and health related professions such as nursing, physical and occupational therapy, and biomedicine.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Alternative Medicine in the 21st CenturyChapter 2: Substance, Energy and Information FlowsChapter 3: Spirit, Consciousness and TranceChapter 4: Body, Movement and The SensesConclusion

View More



Anamaria Iosif Ross is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Utica College, USA.


"Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. - CHOICE - E. Wellin, emeritus, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee In recognising that the label of alternative medicine has a multiplicity of meanings, Ross maintains that what constitutes alternative medicine is relative in that ‘what is deemed alternative at a particular time and place is often a mainstream practice in another time and place’ (p. 5) … Chapters 2–4 constitute a tour d’force of numerous alternative medical systems around the world … her readable book has the potential to serve as an excellent supplementary textbook in an introductory medical anthropology course or a course on medical pluralism. - The Australian Journal of Anthropology [2013; 24(2): 220-221] - Hans Baer This author helps us explore the meanings of practices, whether they be traditional or orthodox ... Highly recommended for students of anthropology, sociology ... courses. - The book is a tour de force of ‘facts’ interwoven with narratives on diverse traditions and therapies within the field of alternative medicine ... I would recommend, ‘sit back and go with the flow’ and this slim volume will generate new thoughts and topics for discussion, regardless of your discipline or experience. - - Dr Fionagh Thomson, Durham University, UK Mentioned in - Anthropological Notebooks"