|Pages/Publication Date:||336 / 2008|
When it comes to disease and healing, many of us believe that we must look beyond doctors and drugs. Whether or not we turn to alternative medicine, we must look within ourselves; faith, relationships, and attitude matter. But why do we believe such things? From psychoanalysis to the placebo effect, this vibrant history describes our various commitments to mind-body healing, finding a patchwork of stories that have allowed people to make new sense of their suffering, express discontent with existing care, and rationalize new treatments and lifestyles.
"[The author] has expertly mapped the transmission of mind-body ideas ... showing us where they come from and why exactly they seem to have nine lives."—Slate
"In her highly original analysis of this history from ancient times to the present, [Anne Harrington] 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."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)