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Starred Review. Over the past several years, numerous medical reports have confirmed the connection between a positive mental attitude and good physical health. In this splendid book, Harrington (The Placebo Effect), chair of Harvard's history of science department, demonstrates that the belief in such a connection between mind and body is nothing new. She uses case studies and stories of healings to show how deeply embedded the idea of positive mental health is in the quest for physical health, as well as the ways that contemporary medicine has incorporated a focus on mind-body healing into its black bag. In her highly original analysis of this history from ancient times to the present, she discovers six different narratives about mind-body healing. These include the power of suggestion, the power of positive thinking and broken by modern life. In the body that speaks narrative, for instance, Harrington traces the idea that physical symptoms are the outward expression of the mind's secrets, and that revealing those secrets can heal, whether the revelation takes place in the confession box or on the analyst's couch. Harrington's study offers a first-rate cultural history of an age-old but still much debated topic.
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“Harrington...has expertly mapped the transmission of mind-body ideas...showing us where they come from and why exactly they seem to have nine lives.” — Amanda Schaffer (Slate)
“This brilliant study ... concludes that 'mind-body medicine is a deeply storied world.'” — Barbara Fisher (Boston Globe)
This is a marvelous overview of the history mind/body healing. It is fascinating to see how opinions and prevailing wisdom has changed over the years. Read morePublished 1 month ago by RaisinBran
This is one of the best researched books I have ever read and the writer needs to be congratulated on a job well done. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Roger Podmore
Harrington's book is well researched and provides a wealth of information. Her narrative approach to the history of mind-body issues works better in some places than others. Read morePublished 24 months ago by John From MA
This book is so insightful about how we got to the place we are as a society of illness while maintaining hope for the truth of healing.Published on December 20, 2012 by H. Kwiker
The author does a good job of sorting and classifying mind-body healing narratives, but often leaves things dangling in such a way as to make some of these very unproven ideas seem... Read morePublished on February 13, 2011 by P. Yeargin
Recommend the book for anyone interested in the history of mind-body medicine and related fields.Published on November 11, 2009 by Armando R. Neves Nt
I was disappointed by the book. It fails to measure up to the importance and promise of its subject, and reflects a narrow viewpoint. It's not too well-written eitherPublished on April 25, 2009 by Thomas G. Cody