Modern medicine is one of the most successful branches of science, with a distinguished history of conquering many of the twentieth century's deadliest diseases. Yet today people are turning in record numbers to alternative therapies that have little or no scientific basis. Herbalists, homeopaths, crystal therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and countless other unconventional practitioners are enjoying thriving businesses. What accounts for this flight from reason in the face of hard evidence that medical doctors do a better job of treating disease and alleviating suffering than their alternative counterparts? In Magic or Medicine? Dr. Robert Buckman and Karl Sabbagh offer a response to this question by critically evaluating both alternative and conventional medical approaches to patient care. Drawing on some of the earliest written medical sources as well as their own investigations into current alternative therapies, the authors argue that healing has always been partly the science of clinical treatment (medicine) and partly an art (magic). Medicine may make the patient get well, but often it is magic that makes the patient feel well. With all the pressures under which they work, modern medical doctors often neglect the magic in their dealings with patients. Alternative therapists, however, frequently offer nothing but magic. Buckman and Sabbagh look closely at the claims made for both medical science and alternative treatments and discover a gap between the promises and the reality of each approach. Magic or Medicine? is a fascinating exploration of healing in the late twentieth century and vital reading for anyone concerned about the effective delivery of health care.