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October 2022

Med Anthropol. 1992 Jan; 13(4): 369-83.

The potential rejuvenation of American naturopathy as a consequence of the holistic health movement.

Baer HA.

Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Arkansas, Little Rock 72204.

Naturopathy is a heterodox professionalized medical system which, in contrast to osteopathy and chiropractic, has received little attention from social scientists, particularly in the United States. This article is an attempt to correct that situation. It focuses on the history of this healing tradition by discussing three stages in the development of American naturopathy: 1) its emergence around the turn of the century; 2) its decline beginning in the late 1930s; and 3) its recent potential rejuvenation, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. The essay concludes that as a consequence of its philosophical and therapeutic eclecticism, naturopathy found itself pre-adapted to the holistic health movement that emerged in American society during the 1970s.

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