While the growth in usage and practice of varying forms of complementary and alternative
medicine (CAM) continues apace, social science has increasingly turned to CAM's often
individualistic approach to health and illness. CAM has been perceived as both partly
a cause of and a response to the well-documented ideology in modern healthcare of
"individual responsibility for health". This occasionally manifests in a 'victim-blaming'
ideology amongst both orthodox and CAM practitioners alike. These issues emerged
as key themes in an ethnographic study of a Centre for spiritual healing in the North
of England. By drawing upon a range of qualitative data gained through the researcher's
participation at this healing centre, author argues that the healers' focus on individual
responsibility for health is not so much a part of the current socio-political health
ideology of "victim-blaming", rather, it is illustrative of an important contemporary
social phenomenon: the movement towards the subjectification and personalisation
of public life.