Originally published in 1984, and now reissued with a new Preface, this was the first systematic and evaluative investigation of the holistic health movement – the first to put its contribution and limitations in both historical and current perspectives. The book answers two essential questions: how do alternative medicines challenge the tenets of conventional scientific medicine; and could a synthesis of these alternative medicines and scientific medicine lead to a reformulation of conceptions of healing? A historical survey of medical care up to the use of scientific medicine in the 19th and 20th Centuries is followed by chapters on different traditions of alternative medicine: homeopathy, chiropractic, non-medical and spiritual healing, oriental medicine and self-care. Each considers the historical roots and development of the particular alternative medicine; describes its principles and how they relate to mainstream medicine. The concluding chapter considers social policy implications and political issues.

Introduction 1. Scientific Medicine Since Flexner 2. Homeopathy 3. Chiropractic 4. Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Holistic System 5. Indigenous Systems of Healing: Questions for Professional, Popular and Folk Care  6. Psychic Healing 7. Alternative Medicine and the Medical Encounter in Britain and the United States Rosemary 8. Holistic Health Centers in the United States  9. Defining Health and Reorganizing Medicine.