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‘You must relax’: Developing health expertise in postwar Britain

Ayesha Nathoo
(University of Exeter)

Therapeutic relaxation practices proliferated in the postwar decades, promoted by practitioners as a means of enhancing wellbeing, preventing ill-health and treating a wide array of conditions. This paper investigates the sites and means of relaxation instruction in Britain – from radio and television programmes to group classes and self-help books. It asks what the pedagogical material and audio-visual culture of relaxation can tell us about changing notions of health education, management and expertise in this period.