Document Detail

On the definition of complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine: societal mega-stereotypes vs. the patients' perspectives.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  14618859     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Much confusion exists regarding the definitions of complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine. Whereas 'complementary and alternative medicine' (CAM) is used to describe a variable set of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities considered as non-conventional, 'integrative medicine' is commonly used to describe the combination of allopathy and CAM. CAM, however, is nothing more than a categorical label that subsumes numerous therapeutic modalities generally sharing few commonalities. Creating a unique category out of such diversity has lead to misunderstanding and skepticism. From the physician's stand-point, this can generate numerous stereotypes, prejudices, and misconceptions that may compromise the therapeutic relationship, impede compliance, and lead to treatment failure. To help avoid this dangerous pitfall, we propose a distinctly new operational definition for CAM; one that shifts the focus from the traditional, population-based approach to a definition that focuses on the individual. This paper outlines various definitions of CAM and discusses their relative strengths and weaknesses for the 21st century practice of medicine. It is our conclusion that individual patients, rather than society, should be the frame of reference and defining source for what constitutes integrative medicine and CAM.
Opher Caspi; Lee Sechrest; Howard C Pitluk; Carter L Marshall; Iris R Bell; Mark Nichter
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Review    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Alternative therapies in health and medicine     Volume:  9     ISSN:  1078-6791     ISO Abbreviation:  Altern Ther Health Med     Publication Date:    2003 Nov-Dec
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-11-17     Completed Date:  2003-12-19     Revised Date:  2007-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9502013     Medline TA:  Altern Ther Health Med     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  58-62     Citation Subset:  IM    
Program in Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Complementary Therapies* / standards
Delivery of Health Care, Integrated* / standards
Evidence-Based Medicine / standards
Holistic Health
Patient-Centered Care* / standards
Terminology as Topic*
United States

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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