Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE (www.oxfordhandbooks.com). © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 24 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the relationship between physics and medicine during the nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on the ways that physics contributed to the practice of medicine. It begins with a background on Elements of Human Physiology, translated by Arthur Gamgee from the fifth edition of Ludimar Hermann’s Grundriss der Physiologie des Menschen. Both texts are particularly interesting and intriguing because of the language they used to describe exchanges of matter and energy in the human body. The article proceeds with a discussion of the problem of vitalism and its connection to materialism, focusing on the phenomena of animal electricity. It also considers how the doctrine of the conservation of energy provided a new way of talking about the human body’s balances and imbalances. Finally, it reviews novel therapeutics that were developed based on the instruments and ideas ofphysics, from electrotherapy and nerve vibration to X-ray therapies.

Keywords: physics, medicine, human body, vitalism, animal electricity, conservation of energy, therapeutics, electrotherapy, nerve vibration, X-ray therapies

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.