Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Alternative and Complementary Medicine: a select bibliography (this post is not related to the coronavirus pandemic)

KuriyamaBivins alternative medicine

Alternative and Complementary Medicine bibliography

This compilation is largely confined to books, in English. Its original motivation can be traced back to my research and unpublished writing on Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) in conjunction with an abiding interest in Buddhism, in particular its relevance to the mind and human psychology. The inclusion of literature on the “placebo effect” is not intended to suggest or imply that alternative and complementary medicine is, in the end, simply reducible to evidence of placebo effects, although, as in (scientific) biomedicine, there is undoubtedly an awareness of its possible and probable role in the healing and health of both body and mind. The title of this bibliography—specifically, the term “complementary”—should make it clear that I don’t think alternative medicine and healing traditions are inherently superior to modern biomedicine, indeed, in my own case, I would likely seek out, in the first instance, a physician trained in modern biomedicine for diagnosing the symptoms of an illness that might afflict me; but there are a class (the boundaries of which are not well-defined) of bodily and mental ailments or afflictions that may be more amenable to the healing arts of alternative medicinal traditions, and some of these may even work in tandem (hence their status as ‘complementary’) with conventional biomedical treatments. For now, we might note with the neurosurgeon and professor of biomedicine, Grant Gillett, that these alternative or complementary models of medicine and healing “ask more subtle questions of the healing professions than can be framed by orthodox allopathic [science-based] medicine.”

Analogically and roughly speaking, I suspect alternative medicine is to biomedicine the way biomedical or bio-statistical epidemiology is to social epidemiology: the analogy is not perfect, if only because it does not encompass mind-body differences, as the mind—or the heart-mind, spirit, psyche/soul—falls more readily and overtly within the province of alternative medicine, although a subsidiary analogy finds the part played by “the mind” in alternative medicine vis-à-vis the body structurally similar to “social conditions” vis-à-vis individual persons (who are at once unique and similar to others individuals for the purposes of biomedicine). Finally, the fact that I assembled this bibliography during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a coincidence bereft of meaning, save for the fact that I am homebound a bit more than usual and thus found the requisite discretionary time to put it together.

Cohen healing at the   Gyatso book

Bibliographies with more or less family resemblance to this compilation (embedded links) : (i) Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Addiction; (ii) Bioethics; (iii) Biological Psychiatry, Sullied Psychology and Pharmaceutical Reason; (iv) Buddhism and Psychoanalysis; (v) Death and Dying; (vi) Diseases, Epidemics, and Pandemics; (vii) Health: Law, Ethics and Social Justice; (viii) Psychoanalytic Psychology and Therapy; and (ix) Sullied (Natural and Social) Sciences.

Clifford Tibetan Buddhist   Smith Forgotten Disease


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