Health and Wellness in the 19th Century

Health and Wellness in the 19th Century

Health and Wellness in the 19th Century

Health and Wellness in the 19th Century

Synopsis

Exploring the history of medicine in the 19th century around the world, this book showcases the wide range of medical ideas, practices, institutions, and patient experiences, revealing how the exchanges of ideas and therapies between different systems of medicine resulted in patients enjoying a surprising degree of choice. The author offers a unique perspective that provides an introduction to 19th-century medicine on a global stage and places the advancement of medicine within the context of wider historical changes.

Chapters examine areas of dramatic change, such as the development of surgery, as well as the fundamental continuities in the use of traditional forms of supernatural healing, covering western, Chinese, unani, ayurvedic, and folk medicine-based understandings of the body and disease. Additionally, the book describes how the culture of medicine reflected and responded to the challenges posed by urbanization, industrialization, and global movement.

Excerpt

Communities have few concerns that are as fundamental as the health of their members. The United States’ current concern for societal provision of health care is as much a political, ethical, economic, and social matter as it is a technical or “medical” one. Reflection on the history of health and medicine may help us to place our contemporary concerns in context, but it also shows how far humanity has come in being able and willing to provide for the highest levels of health and health care possible. It is a reminder, too, of the possibilities the future presents. Our culture believes in progress, but it is also aware that unforeseen challenges will continue to appear. Health and medicine are cultural as well as biological constructs, and we live each day with the constraints and opportunities that follow.

This series of seven monographs explores the courses that human health and medicine have taken from antiquity to the present day. Though far from being complete in their coverage, these volumes map out continuities and changes over time in a set of health and medical fields. Each author has taken on the same outline in order to allow the student of health, medicine, and history to discover conditions, beliefs, practices, and changes within a given period, but also to trace the same concerns across time and place. With this in mind, each volume contains chapters on, for example, healers, children’s health and healing, occupational and environmental threats, and epidemic disease. To the . . .

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