'New age' healing in the U.S

Soc Sci Med. 1986;23(9):889-97. doi: 10.1016/0277-9536(86)90217-0.


This paper provides a conceptual overview of the 'New Age' phenomenon and of 'New age healing,' concepts which have gone virtually unaddressed in social science research, health-related or otherwise. First, drawing upon diverse sources, the authors attempt to define 'New age,' after which they discuss those medical, spiritual, and sociocultural developments which help account for the rise of new age healing in the U.S. Next, a comprehensive review of over a dozen schemata of healing, healers, and medical systems fails to provide a satisfactory classification of new age healing. Finally, by analyzing data derived from primary and secondary source materials on 81 healing systems or techniques identifying themselves with the new age, a typology of new age healing itself is inductively generated. Three general modes are found: mental or physical self-betterment, esoteric teachings, and contemplative practice. These types of new age healing place primary emphasis, respectively, on body, mind and soul.

MeSH terms

  • Complementary Therapies*
  • Holistic Health*
  • Humans
  • Religion and Medicine*
  • United States