Choosing to Heal: The Relationship Between Illness and Treatment in Healing Systems Throughout History

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Choosing to Heal, written for healthcare professionals, presents a historical view of several long-standing healing systems from the standpoint that each maps the patient’s presenting symptoms onto a set of available treatments according to a mapping function. The underlying cosmology of each method is considered along with the problems that arise from the differing cosmologies when combining methods. Several dimensions are considered, such as; the degree to which environmental factors are believed to impact homeostasis, the degree to which the body can be measured in a quantitative way, the degree of non-physical influence on the presenting symptoms, the granularity with which the practitioners believe it is possible to understand the body, and the effects of karma, sin, or other terms used for the spiritual impact of a patient’s previous physical action.