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Complementary medicine in Australia and New Zealand: Its popularisation, legitimation, and dilemmas

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Product Description

By Hans Baer

Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-0-9757422-7-3
Pages: x+190
Imprint: Verdant House

Overview

This title is soon to be available on eBooks. Email us on sales@e-contentmanagement.com to be the first to get an electronic version.

An essential foundation text for any Australian or New Zealand course on complementary medicine, this book charts the origins of the movement, its struggle for legitimation, its dilemmas, evolution and current popularity.

Appropriate reading for diplomas and degrees that are clinically focussed - it is the most comprehensive outline of the development of CAM and its current state in NZ that I have seen. - Kevin Dew

Clearly this is a major contribution to the study of alternative and complementary medicine in Australia... This book will be a standard reference for all tertiary courses on complementary and alternative healing. - Kevin White

Comprehensively researched, jargon free, yet scholarly - this very competent summary of the development of CAM in both countries. - Ian Coulter, Rand

This is a brave piece of writing documenting historical development and valuable knowledge with which to view the current position and consider the future of chiropractic, osteopathy, naturopathy, TCM and herbal training and practice. It give a good overview of the resurgence of interest in CAM with supporting evidence. Collating this evidence is very useful. - Lesley Cuthbertson

Congratul;ations on the new review. I look forward to its publication. - Alan Bensousan

It was interesting and a good read. It brought me up to date as well with accounts of a number of interesting pieces of research that I had not seen. - Evan Willis

I was impressed by how thorough it is. - Gary Easthope

In the late nineteenth century on the eve of the formation of Australia as a nation-state in 1902, the Australian medical system could be best described as a pluralistic one in the sense that while regular medicine constituted the predominant medical system, it was not clearly the dominant one in that regular physicians faced competition from a wide array of alternative practitioners. As regular medicine increasingly assumed the guise of being scientific, it evolved into biomedicine and developed a link with corporate and state interests in the early twentieth century in Australia, as in other capitalist developed societies.

Relying upon state support, Australian biomedicine has achieved dominance over alternative medical system, such as homeopathy, herbal medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic, and naturopathy. Various social forces, particularly the development of the holistic health movement, have served to challenge biomedical dominance in Australia, like elsewhere.

What started out as a popular health movement in the early 1970s has evolved into the professionalized entity that is generally referred to as 'complementary medicine' in Australia (as opposed to 'complementary and alternative medicine' in the US and UK). Complementary medicine in Australia encompasses many medical systems and therapies.

Since the 1980s certain heterodox medical systems, particularly chiropractic, osteopathy, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, naturopathy, Western herbalism, and homeopathy, have achieved considerable recognition from the Australian state, either at the federal level or at the state and territorial levels. Indeed, the Australian state appears to have gone further than any other Anglophone country in terms of providing public funding for complementary medicine education. Conversely, it has committed a limited amount of funding for complementary medicine research compared to the United States.

An essential foundation text for any Australian or New Zealand course on complementary medicine, this book is available at discounted student rates as a course reader or recommended reader. Course coordinators may request a complimentary evaluation copy directly from the publisher. Course adopters may negotiate bulk discounts.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Alternative medicine in Australia to 1970

This chapter includes a discussion of the early history of various alternative medical systems, including homeopathy, Western herbalism, electrotherapy, massage, osteopathy, chiropractic, chiropractic, naturopathy in Australia.

Chapter 2 - Chiropractic and osteopathy in Australia - recognition and funding

Chapter 2 examines the drive for statutory recognition and public funding for training programs on the part of the chiropractic and osteopathic professions in Australia, both before and after the hearing of the Australian government's Joint Select Committee on Osteopathy, Chiropractic, and Naturopathy during the mid-1970s. It also examines the complex relationship between osteopathy and chiropractic - two competing and sometimes overlapping manual medical systems, both of which achieved statutory recognition in all Australian jurisdictions in the early 1980s. Today the two of the three chiropractic and three osteopathic training programs in Australia are situated in public tertiary institutions.

Chapter 3 - Naturopathy, acupuncture, Chinese medicine and other holistic health practices

Chapter 3 discusses the development of naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, as well as other complementary medicine systems, such as homeopathy, Western herbal medicine, bodywork, direct-entry midwifery, religious healing, and folk medicine, in the context of the holistic health movement that diffused to Australia from the United States and probably also Britain. This chapter also provides an overview of the numerous studies of complementary medicine utilization in Australia.

Chapter 4 - Governmental inquires and statutory recognition of complementary medical practices

This chapter discusses various governmental inquiries into complementary medicine since 1977, the successful drive for statutory recognition on the part of acupuncturists and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners in Victoria, and the still unsuccessful efforts on the part of natural therapists, including naturopaths and Western herbalists, and other complementary practitioners to achieve statutory recognition. The drive on the part of various complementary practitioners for exemption from the General Sales Tax for health services has prompted many of them to abide by the Australian government's call for self-regulation or a voluntary registration system.

Chapter 5 - Schools and public education funding

This chapter provides an overview of the wide array of private colleges of complementary medicine in Australia and the development of public tertiary institutions offering programs in various complementary therapeutic systems as well as research centers focusing on efficacy studies of complementary therapies. The emergence of complementary medicine programs offering bachelor's degrees at public universities appears to have driven the upgrading of programs of study at the private complementary medicine schools. This is evidenced by the fact that various private institutions have formed partnerships with public universities while others have started with governmental support degree programs of their own.

Chapter 6 - Australian dominative medicine and complementary medical practices

This chapter presents a model of the Australian dominative medical system which recognizes the following levels: (1) biomedicine; (2) fully-legitimized professionalized heterodox medical systems (chiropractic and osteopathy and Chinese medicine, in the case of Victoria); (3) semi-legitimized professionalized heterodox medicine systems (Chinese medicine outside of Victoria, naturopathy, and various natural therapies); (4) limited or marginal heterodox medical systems (e.g., homeopathy, massage, reflexology, and direct-entry midwifery); (5) religious healing systems (e.g., Spiritualism, Pentecostalism, Scientology, and New Age healing); and (6) folk and ethnic medical systems (e.g., Aboriginal medicinal systems and Asian folk medical systems). This chapter also summarizes various studies that have examined the social and occupational profiles of various complementary practitioners in Australia.

Chapter 7 - Mainstreaming of complementary medicine in Australia

This chapter considers the mainstreaming of complementary medicine in Australia as is evidenced by the growing interest in it on the part of biomedical physicians and nurses, and the corporate sector. This chapter also examines the nexus between the natural products industry and the Australian government, particularly the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Chapter 8 - An overview of complementary medicine in New Zealand

As in Australia, complementary medicine has undergone processes of both popularisation and legitimation in New Zealand. Chiropractic and osteopathy more or less function as fully professionalised heterodox medical systems in New Zealand in terms of enjoying statutory registration. However, unlike Australia where all chiropractic training programs are situated in public universities, the sole chiropractic school in New Zealand is a private one. Ironically, osteopathy, a smaller profession, has its training program situated in a public tertiary institution. Other complementary medical systems, such as naturopathy, Western herbalism, and Chinese medicine, lack statutory registration in New Zealand. Furthermore, training programs in these complementary systems are situated entirely in private schools. Like in Australia, a growing number of biomedical physicians and nurses in New Zealand have been incorporating complementary therapies into their practices.

Chapter 9 - Government interest in complementary and alternative medicine

This chapter examines why the Australian state has increasingly come to express an interest in complementary medicine, particularly as a strategy to promote individual responsibility for health among Australians and ultimately to contain public expenditures for health by diverting more and more health care to complementary practitioners who are generally covered under Medicare. This chapter also seeks to assess the future of complementary medicine in Australia and considers whether it contains the potential of providing a meaningful counter-hegemonic challenge to it as well as the larger Australian society.

Chapter 10 - How holistic is complementary medicine?

Proponents of complementary and alternative medicine and integrative medicine have all too often have treated the notion of holistic health as a rhetorical device that serves their own ends, including professional and pecuniary ones, rather than as a substantive one that provides a critique of the existing capitalist world system, its role in contributing to disease, and nationally based dominative medical systems. For the most part, most proponents of holistic health as well as many CAM practitioners and holistically oriented biomedical practitioners tend to a subscribe to a limited holism that emphasises mind-body-spirit connections but generally leaves the larger social and natural environments out of the equation or at best gives them lip service.

About the author: Hans A. Baer is Senior Lecturer in the School of Philosophy, Anthropology, and Social Inquiry and the Centre for Health and Society at the University of Melbourne. He has published 16 books, co-edited several special journal issues, and published some 150 book chapters and journal articles. Some of his books include Recreating Utopia in the Desert; African American Religion; Encounters with Biomedicine: Case Studies in Medical Anthropology; Critical Medical (with Merrill Singer); Medical Anthropology and the World System: A Critical Perspective (with Merrill Singer and Ida Susser); Biomedicine and Alternative Healing Systems in America: Issues of Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Gender; Toward an Integrative Medicine; Introducing Medical Anthropology (with Merrill Singer); Global Warming and the Political Ecology of Health: Emerging Crises and Systemic Solutions (with Merrill Singer). In early 2008, Baer began to investigate climate politics and the climate movement in Australia, an on-going project. Hans considers himself a scholar-activist and has been involved in various movements over the years, including peace, social justice, anti-apartheid, labor, environmental, and climate justice movements.

Reviews

Complementary Medicine in Australia and New Zealand

Hans A Baer, 2009

Reviewer: Matthew J Leach, University of South Australia

Health Sociology Review volume 20-1 (March 2011)

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is a diverse group of health-related modalities that promote the body's innate healing ability in order to facilitate optimum health and wellbeing, whilst retaining a core focus on holism, individuality, education and disease prevention. The origins of these therapies date as far back as three millennia. The history of CAM in Australia and New Zealand, however, is relatively more recent (with the exception of Indigenous medicine). Despite its recent history, there has been a paucity of work from independent sources describing the events that have shaped CAM in Australia and New Zealand, from early settlement to the present time. Instead, much of the discourse on the history of CAM is published in overseas texts (which have limited relevance to the way CAM is practiced in Australia and New Zealand), or through professional associations (which present a somewhat selective account of past events). The book Complementary medicine in Australia and New Zealand, written by Anthropologist Dr Hans Baer, at the University of Melbourne, is therefore a welcome addition to the CAM literature.

In essence, this book sets out to describe the dilemmas, popularisation and legitimisation of CAM in Australia and New Zealand from the time of the late nineteenth century. For the most part, the book achieves this aim; piecing together many important milestones that have helped shape CAM as it is practiced today, including such issues as regulation, training, funding, biomedical dominance, and CAM utilisation.

There are several merits to this book that need to be highlighted:

  • Firstly, the easy to read writing style makes this book suitable for students and practitioners of CAM, as well as the CAM-naïve.
  • The neutral position and objectivity of the author, who favours neither CAM nor biomedicine in the text, makes for a more pleasant read.
  • Lastly, the conclusion; whilst deviating from the basic premise of the book, it raises an important and somewhat brave point; that is, whether CAM practitioners subscribe to a truly holistic model of care - arguing that many social determinants of health are perhaps ignored in CAM practice.

The author goes on to state that by addressing these gaps in the model of care, therapies such as naturopathy could play an integral part in addressing the health needs of the socially disadvantaged.

While there are many positive facets of this book, there are some areas that could be improved. For instance, there was a paucity of detail on many of the events raised; what was required was a little more background as to why these events unfolded, and what the implications of the events were. The structure of the chapters, as well as the book, are also somewhat disjointed. A discussion of events in sequential order, rather than a piecemeal approach, may have been easier to follow. Two other issues, which could have been resolved through careful editing, were the frequent presence of typographical errors, and the level of repetition across chapters. Notwithstanding, many of these issues could be easily addressed in future editions of the book.

Overall, this is a much-needed and long-overdue book on the history of CAM in Australia and New Zealand. While there are some areas that need improvement, for the most part, Complementary medicine in Australia and New Zealand is informative and easy to read, and importantly, makes a significant contribution to the scholarship of CAM.


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