The Cure Within: A History of Mind-body Medicine

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Overview

"A splendid history of mind-body medicine...a book that desperately needed to be written."—Jerome Groopman, New York TimesIs stress a deadly disease on the rise in modern society? Can mind-body practices from the East help us become well? When it comes to healing, we believe we must look beyond doctors and drugs; we must look within ourselves. Faith, relationships, and attitude matter.But why do we believe such things? From psychoanalysis to the placebo effect to meditation, this vibrant cultural history describes mind-body healing as rooted in a patchwork of stories, allowing us to make new sense of our suffering and to rationalize new treatments and lifestyles.

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Editorial Reviews

Slate
Harrington...has expertly mapped the transmission of mind-body ideas...showing us where they come from and why exactly they seem to have nine lives.— Amanda Schaffer
Boston Globe
This brilliant study ... concludes that 'mind-body medicine is a deeply storied world.'— Barbara Fisher
Slate - Amanda Schaffer
“Harrington...has expertly mapped the transmission of mind-body ideas...showing us where they come from and why exactly they seem to have nine lives.”
Boston Globe - Barbara Fisher
“This brilliant study ... concludes that 'mind-body medicine is a deeply storied world.'”
Amanda Schaffer - Slate
“Harrington...has expertly mapped the transmission of mind-body ideas...showing us where they come from and why exactly they seem to have nine lives.”
Barbara Fisher - Boston Globe
“This brilliant study ... concludes that 'mind-body medicine is a deeply storied world.'”
Jerome Groopman
In The Cure Within, her splendid history of mind-body medicine, Anne Harrington tries to explain why we draw connections between emotions and illness, and helps trace how today's myriad alternative and complementary treatments came to be. A professor and chairman of the history of science department at Harvard, Harrington has produced a book that desperately needed to be written…In fluid prose and with the precision of a detective story, Harrington offers a taxonomy of the main narratives that we draw on to try to make sense of disease, whether they emphasize our ability to heal ourselves or more magical interventions.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Over the past several years, numerous medical reports have confirmed the connection between a positive mental attitude and good physical health. In this splendid book, Harrington (The Placebo Effect), chair of Harvard's history of science department, demonstrates that the belief in such a connection between mind and body is nothing new. She uses case studies and stories of healings to show how deeply embedded the idea of positive mental health is in the quest for physical health, as well as the ways that contemporary medicine has incorporated a focus on mind-body healing into its black bag. In her highly original analysis of this history from ancient times to the present, she discovers six different "narratives" about mind-body healing. These include "the power of suggestion," "the power of positive thinking" and "broken by modern life." In "the body that speaks" narrative, for instance, Harrington traces the idea that physical symptoms are the outward expression of the mind's secrets, and that revealing those secrets can heal, whether the revelation takes place in the confession box or on the analyst's couch. Harrington's study offers a first-rate cultural history of an age-old but still much debated topic. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

Media celebrities like Deepak Chopra, Bill Moyers, and Wayne Dyer have popularized theories of powerful currents linking our minds, emotions, and physical bodies. In contrast, Harrington (history of science, Harvard Univ.; Reenchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler), who has spent her scholarly career exploring mind-body relationships, enlightens readers through an authoritative historical account of healers' efforts through the ages to use the mind to cure the body. From Old Testament accounts of demon possession through neurasthenia, hypnosis, psychotherapy, and biofeedback to the West's recent explorations of Qigong Chinese medicine and Tibetan meditation techniques, she here provides a fascinating tour of the many contested terrains between mind and body and science and culture. Writing stories of inexplicable healings and referencing respected scientific research studies, Harrington persuades readers of the undeniable power of the mind over the physical body. Recommended for thoughtful readers in most libraries.
—Kathy Arsenault

School Library Journal

Over the past several years, numerous medical reports have confirmed the connection between a positive mental attitude and good physical health. In this splendid book, Harrington (The Placebo Effect), chair of Harvard's history of science department, demonstrates that the belief in such a connection between mind and body is nothing new. She uses case studies and stories of healings to show how deeply embedded the idea of positive mental health is in the quest for physical health, as well as the ways that contemporary medicine has incorporated a focus on mind-body healing into its black bag. In her highly original analysis of this history from ancient times to the present, she discovers six different "narratives" about mind-body healing. These include "the power of suggestion," "the power of positive thinking" and "broken by modern life." In "the body that speaks" narrative, for instance, Harrington traces the idea that physical symptoms are the outward expression of the mind's secrets, and that revealing those secrets can heal, whether the revelation takes place in the confession box or on the analyst's couch. Harrington's study offers a first-rate cultural history of an age-old but still much debated topic. (Jan.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393333978
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/16/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 354
  • Sales rank: 526,096
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne Harrington, professor and chair of the History of Science Department at Harvard University, is the author of Reenchanted Science and the editor of The Placebo Effect and The Dalai Lama at MIT. She lives in Watertown, Massachusetts.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 11

Introduction Stories, Science, and Culture under the Skin 15

Chapter One The Power of Suggestion 31

Chapter Two The Body That Speaks 67

Chapter Three The Power of Positive Thinking 103

Chapter Four Broken by Modern Life 139

Chapter Five Healing Ties 175

Chapter Six Eastward Journeys 205

Conclusion Making Sense of Mind-Body Medicine 243

Notes 257

Select Bibliography 299

Index 323

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