Alternative Medicine and American Religious Life

Alternative Medicine and American Religious Life

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This book upholds that underlying all unorthodox medical systems is a characteristically American strain of religious thought which states that spiritual, physical and economic well-being flow from the individual's connection with the cosmos. After a survey of the earliest nineteenth-century health reforms, including hydropathy, homeopathy and Thomsonianism (which held that all disease was caused by cold and could be cured by heat), Fuller turns to mesmerism and Swedenborgianism. These two movements he argues were key representatives of an extraordinary metaphysical flowering that took place in America between the 1830s and the Civil War. He then goes on to demonstrate that virtually all subsequent health care enthusiasms can be shown to relate to or stem from seminal movements. The final chapter raises the question of whether it is the religious element in these groups that makes them effective healing forces. Fuller's conclusion is that such groups and practices supply a perception of "sacred reality" and contact with a higher power in a way that organized religions have failed to do.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 192 pages
  • 139.7 x 213.36 x 22.86mm | 408.23g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 10 pp halftones
  • 0195057759
  • 9780195057751

About Robert C. Fuller

About the Author Robert C. Fuller is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies and Director of the University Honors Program at Bradley University. He is the author of Americans and the Unconscious, Mesmerism and the American Cure of Souls, and Religion and the Life Cycle.
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