Christine Gowing MA

Christine Gowing

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Phd Title: Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in British nursing practice 1948 – 2000

Supervisors: Professor Jonathan Reinarz and Dr Nicola Gale

This research project examines approximately fifty years of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and questions the extent to which nurses practised it in this period – and their rationale for doing so. Through interviews and archival material, the study examines the relationship between CAM and biomedicine from the earliest days of the NHS and considers CAM’s changing status in healthcare provision. It encompasses themes of regulation, terminology, professionalisation, autonomy, training, the effect of healthcare technology, ideas about the body, the therapeutic relationship and the zeitgeist of self-help and alternativism in the closing decades of the twentieth century.

The value of this research project is to further the knowledge and understanding of healthcare provision by nurses. By examining the relationship between CAM and biomedicine in this context, it will contribute to the understanding of the history of medicine in the twentieth century.


  • MA in History of Medicine, Oxford Brookes University, 2004 – Distinction
  • BA in Humanities, Open University, 1993 – First


Chris Gowing is a postgraduate research student in the MESH (Medical, Ethics, Science and History) unit. She has retired as a civil service/public sector administrator and is now secretary of a local museum, she volunteers with the University of Oxford museums and is a Fellow of the History and Philosophy of Medicine Faculty, Society of Apothecaries. Lives and works in Oxfordshire.


Research interests include: history of medicine, complementary and alternative medicine, history of medical electricity, history of holism in medicine, history of nursing, history of touch

Other activities

MESH (Medical, Ethics, Science and History) representative to postgraduate research committee