IIS 113, STS 113, or PS 197
Class: MW 2:45-4:00 PM,  Avery 204

Sharon Snowiss
Professor of Political Studies
Office: Scott 206, ext 73178

Office hours: MW 4:10 - 5:30 PM and by appointment.


The seminar will be a basic and wide-range exploration of healing practices originating around the world and often understood as complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in the USA.  We will be exploring several traditional systems of medicine as they contibute to the development of integrative medicine.  We will attempt to examine the variety of medical practices in a critical and balanced way.

The study of the CAM will include four aspects: (1) the local knowledge and theories of healing and illness; (2) the philosophical, historical, and political dimensions; (3) a review of some plausible psychobiological mechanisms that may underlie many CAM practices; and (4) a review of the clinical efficacy of complementary and alternative medicines provided by the Western biomedical sciences.

At the end of the seminar students would gain a critical and balanced understanding of the benefits and limitations of complementary and alternative healing practices, which is very important considering the enormous popularity of alternative medicine today.


Course Requirements

Students are required to do all assigned readings by class time, to complete weekly critiques and to participate in class discussions.  There are two short (5-7 page) reflective essays and research paper (12-15 pages) required to complete the course.

Students are also asked to participate in experiential activities within the class (e.g. Heart-Math), as well as experiencing some aspect of the healing method chosen for their research.

Heart-Math is the name of an institute that is exploring the role of the heart in human performance.  They have devised a series of techniques that allow the practitioner to control heart rate variability and achieve "entrainment" or synchronization of mind, breath and heart rhythms.  This entrainment state leads to lower stress and enhanced performance physiologically and mentally.  While Heart Math is not an alternative medical practice as systemic knowledge from another culture, it nevertheless focuses on the interrelationship of the heart-mind that is fundamental to many cultural practices.  Furthermore, the Institute is researching the relationship from a western scientific perspective and provides both a practice and an intellectual research design component that will help to elucidate a number of issues raised in the course.

 There is a brief training to learn the Heart-Math technique.  Students are asked to practice on a regular basis and to keep a record of their progress -- computer generated data as well as impressions and experiences.

A three page essay, reflecting on one's own experience with Heart-Math will be required at the end of the semester.

Please read, Science of the Heart pp. 3-26

Recommended: D. Childre, H. Martin, The Heart Math Solution


Supplementary Activities

Guest healers, guest speakers, films, and healing demonstrations will supplement the lectures, readings, and class discussions.   Students are strongly advised to attend the public events on CAM.



Available at Huntley book store

  • Briggs J and Peat DF. The Turbulent Mirror. Harper, 1990.

  • Dossey L. Reinventing Medicine. Harper, 1999.

  • Harrington A. ed. The Placebo Effect - An Interdisciplinary Exploration.  Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1997.

  • Kuhn TS. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. University of Chicago Press, 1996.

  • Malidome Some. Of Water and the Spirit

  • Canizares R. Cuban Santeria: Walking with the Night.

Readings available on electronic reserve
(Honnold Library)

click here

January 18


History, Politics, Philosophy and Medicine.

January 23

Science: Paradigms and Changing "Reality."
ReadingKuhn TS, Structure of Scientific Revolutions (selections); Vickers A, Research Paradigms in Mainstream and Complementary Medicine. In Ernst E. Complementary Medicine -  An Objective Appraisal.

January 25 Science and Culture.
Readings: Harding, Is Science Multicultural?, Chp. 4
  Levi-Strauss, The Savage Mind, Chp. 1.
January 30 Science:  Chaos and Order.
Briggs & Peat, The Turbulent Mirror (selections).
February 1

Medicine, Science and Culture
An introduction to the "Theories of Illness."
Readings: George P. Murdock. Theories of Illness - A World Survey. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1980.
  Trudy Griffin-Pierce. "When I am Lonely The Mountains Call Me": The Impact of  Sacred Geography on Navajo Psychological Well Being. American Indian and Alaska Native Mental Health Research.
   Aronowitz, Making Sense of Illness, Science Society and Disease, (selections).

February 6-8 Medicine and Politics:  Regulation and Law
Readings: Cohen, Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (selections).
   Stone and Mathews, Complementary Medicine and The Law (selections).
National Policy Dialogue To advance Integrated Health Care: Finding Common Ground, March 2002.

   Cohen and Eisenberg, "Potential Physician Malpractice Liability Assoiciated with Complementary and Intigrative Medical Therapies," Annals of Internal Meciine, 2002.
   Cohen and Reggie, "Intefrating Complementary and Alternative Medical Therapies in Conventional Medical Settings: Legal Quandaries and Potential Policy Models",  University of Cincinnati Law Review, Winter, 2003.
   Vincler and Nicol, "When Ignorance Isn't Bliss" What Healthcare Practitioners and Facilities Should Know about Complementary and Alternative Medicines", Journal of Health and Hospital Law, Vol. 30, No. 3.
   White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy, March 2002 (selections) 
February 13-15 Paradigms of Healing and Medicine
Reading: Dossey, Reinventing Medicine
   Kaptchuk and Miller, "What is the Best and Most Ethical Model for the Relationship Between Mainstream and Alternative Medicine: Opposition, Integration, or Pluralism?",  Academic Medicine, March, 2005.
   Adams et al, "Ethical Considerations of Complimentary and Alternative Medical Therapies in Conventional Medical Settings," Annals of Internal Medicine, 2002
Friday,     February 17 Reflection paper due
Understanding Changing Practices in Medicine: Principles of Scientific Research & Basic Methods of Study.
February 20 The Scientific Method
Reading: Duggan AK. The Scientific Method, Inference, and Validity of Research Findings.  In DeAngelis C. An Introduction to Clinical Research. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. p. 3-13.

Types of Research Designs: Descriptive Studies, Cross-Sectional, Comparative Studies (Case-Control Studies, Cohort Studies, Experimental Studies, Quasi-Experimental Studies).
Reading: Wissow L and Pascoe J.  Types of Research Models and Methods.  In DeAngelis C. An Introduction to Clinical Research. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. p. 38-72.
   Kaptchuck, "The double-blind reandomized, placebo controlled trial; gold standard or golden calf?" Journal of Clinical Epistemology, 2001.
   Kaptchuck, "Complementary Medicine: Efficacy beyond the placebo effect," Complementary Medicine, An Objective Appraisal, (chp. 4), 1996.

Understanding Changing Practices in Medicine: Neurosciences & Alternative Medicine.

February 22 The Self-Healing Brain? Placebo and Nocebo Phenomena.
Readings: Harrington, The Placebo Effect: An Interdisciplinary Exploration, Intro, chp. 1-3
February 27 Placebo continued.
Readings: Harrington, chpt. 5-7, 9 and "Conversations at the Disciplinary Borders."
   Stone et al, "Patient Expectations in placebo controlled randomized clinical trials."
   Moerman and Jonas, "Deconstructing the Placebo Effect and Finding the Mean Response," Annals of Internal Medicine, March 2002.
March 1 The Neurobiology of Stress
Alan Jones, Professor of Psychology

Readings: to be assigned
March 6 Heart-Math
Rollin McCraty, "Science of the Heart", "The Energetic Heart"

Readings: Rollin McCraty, The Science of the Heart, pp. 3-26
   McCraty, "The Energetic Heart: Bioelctromagnetic Interactions Within and Between People."
   McCraty and Childoe, "The Appreciative Heart: The Psychophysiology of Positive Emotions and Optimal Functioning."
   McCraty, Atkinson, and Bradley, "Eelctrophysical Evidence of Intuition: Part 2. A system-wide Process?" Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, November 2, 2004.
March 8 Research: Problems in Cross-Cultural Research Design.  What is the Body?
Readings: Steven Epstein, "Bodily Differences and Collective Identities: The Politics of Gender and Race in Biomedical Research in the U.S., Body and Society, 2004.
   S. Gilbert, "Bodies of Knowledge: Biology and the Intercultural University", in Taylor, Halton and Edwards, Changing Life: genomes, ecologies, bodies, commodities. (1997)
   Gbadegesin, "Eniyan: The Yoruba Concept of a person," in Coetzee and Roux, The African Philosophy Reader
   Sonar Farage, "Musical Proportions in the Pulse." (2004)

Chinese Body. (TBA)

Friday, March 10th

Second Reflection Paper Due

March 13 and 15 SPRING Break

The sequence of the units below and guest healers could change. 

March 20 Energy Healing
Kenneth Klee
, Professor of Law, UCLA.
An overview of energy healing modalities, including Pranic, DNA, Theta, Norri, Radiance Techniques, Pulsors, Beyonder, N.E.T.

Reading: Hintz, Youst, Kader, Schwartz, Hammerschlag and Shen, "Bioenergy Definitions and Research Guidelines," Definitions and Standards in Healing Research a supplement to Alternative Therapies, May/June 2003.
   Michael Cohen, Beyond Complementary Medicine, Chapter 6, "Energy Healing: An Emerging Enigma."
   Co, Healing Handsa."
   Klee, Energy Medicine

March 22 African/Caribbean Medicine.

Video on African Healing Traditions
Readings: Malidoma Some, Of Water and The Spirit, Intro, Chp. 1, 2, 3, Chp. 12, 14-15, 17, 18

March 27 Clinical studies on African Healing Methods and Discussion
Readings: MG Hewson. Traditional Healers in Southern Africa.  Annals of Internal Medicine 1998;128:1029-1034.
  Ngubane H. Clinical Practice and Organization of Indigenous Healers in South Africa.
  Oyeneye OY. Mobilizing Indigenous Resource for Primary Health Care in Nigeria: A Note on the Place of Traditional Medicine.

Research paper topics are due March 27 in class

March 29 Santeria
Lourdes Arguellas, Professor of Education, CGU

Canizares, Cuban Santeria: Walking with the Night, Chp 1-6, 8

 Amerindian Medicine.

April 3 Cecilia Garcia, Chumash Medicine Woman.
Demonstration on Chumash Healing.

Readings: Ken Cohen, "Native American Medicine" in Jonas and Levine, Essentials of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
   J. Adams and Cecilia Garcia, "Pallatives Care Among Chumash People,"   Evidenced-Based Complementary and Alternative medicine, April 20, 2005.3.
   J. Adams and Cecilia Garcia, "Spirit, Mind, and Body in Chunash Healing," Evidenced-Based CAM, October 10, 2005.
   Virgil Bogel, American Indian Medicine, Chp. 2, 6.
April 5 Meso-American Healers
Readings:  Sylvia Marcos, Professor of Anthropology and Religion, Clinical Psychologists.
   Sylvia Marcos, Women, Healing Rituals and Popular Medicine in Mexico."
   Sylvia Marcos, "Sacred Earth: Meso-American Perceptions."



April 10 Quichua Healing
Readings: Tousynant and Maldonado, "Sadness, Depression and Social Reciprocity in Highland Ecuador."
   Maldonado, "Indigenous Knowledge."
   Maldonado, "Are Yachataitas (Quichua Healers) Good Diagnosticians?"
April 12 Tour of Pitzer's Native American Garden
with Mark Acuna, Tongva Herbalist
  Chinese Medicine
April 17 The Theory of Chinese Medicine by Professor SiTu, Jie Tenth heir of Shaolin Wei Tuo QiGong. Acupuncturist and Herbalist. (TBA)

Reading: K. Ergil, "China's Traditional Medicine: in Micozzi (ed) Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

April 19 Demonstration of Chinese Medicine.
April 24 Clinical Trials on Chinese Healing Methods and Discussion.
Readings: NIH Consensus Statement on Acupuncture.

   Lin and Chen, "Exploratory Studies of External Qi in China."
   Kaptchuck, "Acupuncture Theory, Efficacy and Practice," Annals of Internal Medicine, March 2002.
April 26

Student Research Reports

May 1 Student Research Reports.
May 3 Review


May 3 Graduating Seniors:  Research and HeartMath essay papers are due on May 3.


May 10 All others:  Research papers and HeartMath essay papers are due on Wednesday, May 10th.