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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

James C Whorton
MHE 413
Seattle Campus

History of Alternative Healing

Analysis of historical development of alternative healing in American society over last two centuries. Emphasis on evolution of theory, practice, and professional institutions for major alternative systems and interactions of alternative modalities with conventional medicine. Medical background not required.

Class description

This course will examine the development of the major systems of alternative medical practice in the United States from 1800 to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the origins of each system, the development of therapy and theory, professionalization, and relations with orthodox medicine and American society. Classes will consist of informal lecture with questions and discussion encouraged.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Instruction will be accomplished through informal lecture and discussion, backed by reading. Medical training is not a prerequisite.

Recommended preparation

Assignments will consist of reading in the text. Grades will be based on performance on two exams utilizing a format of short discussion questions.

Class assignments and grading


PART I: Origins of Alternative Medicine

A. Orthodox Medicine in the Early 1800s

B. The Concept of Natural Healing: Hippocrates to 1850

C. Emergence of “Irregular” Medicine

PART II: The Nineteenth Century

A. Thomsonianism

B. Eclectic Medicine

C. Homeopathy

D. Mesmerism: From Magnetic Healing to Christian Science

E. Hydropathy

F. Phrenology

G. Osteopathy

H. Chiropractic

Part III : The Twentieth Century

A. Naturopathy

B. Allopathic Opposition and the Decline of Alternative Medicine

C. Elevation of Professional Standards Within Alternative Medicine

D. The Holistic Revolt and Alternative Medicine

E. Acupuncture, Ayurveda, and Asian Healing Traditions

F. The 1990s: From Alternative to Complementary Medicine

Grades will be based on performance on two exams utilizing a format of short discussion questions.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
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Last Update by Amber L Curtis
Date: 12/30/2002