Article

'Neue DEutsche Heilkunde': complementary/alternative medicine in the Third Reich

Department of Complementary Medicine, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.
Complementary Therapies in Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.55). 04/2001; 9(1):49-51. DOI: 10.1054/ctim.2000.0416
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The aim of this article is to discuss complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) in the Third Reich. Based on a general movement towards all things natural, a powerful trend towards natural ways of healing had developed in the 19(th)century. By 1930 this had led to a situation where roughly as many lay practitioners of CAM existed in Germany as doctors. To re-unify German medicine under the banner of 'Neue Deutsche Heilkunde', the Nazi officials created the 'Heilpraktiker' - a profession which was meant to become extinct within one generation. The 'flag ship' of the 'Neue Deutsche Heilkunde' was the 'Rudolf Hess Krankenhaus' in Dresden. It represented a full integration of CAM and orthodox medicine. An example of systematic research into CAM is the Nazi government's project to validate homoeopathy. Even though the data are now lost, the results of this research seem to have been negative. Even though there are some striking similarities between today's CAM and yesterday's 'Neue Deutsche Heilkunde' there are important differences. Most importantly, perhaps, today's CAM is concerned with the welfare of the individual, whereas the 'Neue Deutsche Heilkunde' was aimed at ensuring the dominance of the Aryan race.

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    • "In this manuscript, CAM refers to biologically based practices including substances found in nature, such as herbs, dietary supplements, multivitamin and mineral supplements, as well as prayers. Such therapies are used for the prevention and treatment of diseases and are meant to complement mainstream medicine by: “satisfying a demand not met by orthodoxy or by diversifying the conceptual frameworks of medicine” [13]. CAM therapies are gaining public acceptance and are increasingly used around the globe, especially among individuals with chronic illnesses such as T2DM [14-16]. "
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    No preview · Article · Dec 2013