Healing at the Borderland of Medicine & Religion

(2006) This book focuses on social, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of integrative care and grounds the analysis in the attendant legal, regulatory, and institutional changes brought by integrative medicine. It will be of interest not only to physicians and other clinicians, health care institutions, and health care consumers, but also to scholars in philosophy, religion, and other disciplines in the humanities.

One of the transformations facing health care in the twenty-first century is the safe, effective, and appropriate integration of conventional, or biomedical, care with complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, herbal medicine, and spiritual healing. In Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Michael H. Cohen discusses the need for establishing rules and standards to facilitate appropriate integration of conventional and CAM therapies.

The kind of integrated health care many patients seek dwells in a borderland between the physical and the spiritual, between the quantifiable and the immeasurable, Cohen observes. But the present environment fails to present clear rules for clinicians regarding which therapies to recommend, accept, or discourage, and how to discuss patient requests regarding inclusion of such therapies. Focusing on the social, intellectual, and spiritual dimensions of integrative care and grounding his analysis in the attendant legal, regulatory, and institutional changes, Cohen provides a multidisciplinary examination of the shift to a more fluid, pluralistic health care environment.

Excerpt from Introduction

The Wheel of Time
At the First International Congress on Tibetan Medicine in Washington, D.C., the Dalai Lama reminded the audience that the firstinternational congress on Tibetan medicine was actually held in the seventh or eighth century, not the twentieth. Furthermore, the congress was held in Tibet. not in the American capital, and finally, the historical conclave focused on the shared medical traditions of India, Nepal, China, Persia, and Tibet…

“Snippets of the body of alternative medicine are skillfully dissected and probed by Cohen’s legal scalpel in a manner that is informative and intellectually stimulating. … For persons wishing…knowledge and understanding of the present legal environment for alternative medicine in the United States, this book is an excellent choice.”

— Journal of the American Medical Association


“Michael Cohen eloquently explores pathways to healing — a universal human desire. He opens our eyes to new ways to think about health — beyond the exclusivity of science and medicine to a wonderful array of different traditions and methodologies. For modern health care professionals, this book offers rich rewards.”

— Lawrence Gostin, Georgetown University Law Center and the Center for Law and the Public’s Health


“Provide[s] a framework and gives us possible explanations and places for religion and alternative medicine in the current system of care.”

— Journal of the National Medical Association


“Cohen is a leading authority in an exceedingly important but as yet relatively uncharted area of discussion that has serious implications for our society. Recommended.”

— Choice