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Integrative medicine: Issues to consider in this emerging form of health care

Health Care Providers, Institutions, and Patients: Changing Patterns of Care Provision and Care Delivery

ISBN: 978-0-76230-644-2, eISBN: 978-1-84950-047-0

ISSN: 0275-4959

Publication date: 10 May 2000

Abstract

A new medical model has emerged due to the public's increasing awareness and acceptance of alternative medicine. As a result, alternative practitioners have joined with physicians in a variety of professional settings to explore ways to integrate Western medical techniques with alternative medical techniques and ideology. For example, clients with chronic lower back pain may receive treatments in an integrative clinic from the physician, chiropractor, and massage therapist. Yet, they are also encouraged to make changes in their daily routines at work and home to lessen the stress on their back. Thus, practitioners use both Western and alternative techniques in accordance with a key component of alternative ideology: the belief that individuals must take responsibility for their health.Political and cultural changes have made integrative medicine possible, yet there are some key issues that activists need to resolve as they develop this new model of medicine. Many alternative practitioners are interested in working with physicians, because it brings legitimacy to their work. Yet, it is important to understand why some physicians are now interested in working with alternative practitioners. Political changes, such as the rise of managed care, have eroded physicians' authority. Consequently, some physicians are searching for new ways to practice medicine without these structural constraints. Other physicians are drawn to the connection that alternative ideology makes between spirituality and medical practice, reflecting a new cultural emphasis on spirituality. Finally, physicians and alternative practitioners need to develop a team approach where all practitioners have equal power and maintain the ideological integrity behind their techniques. These elements are critical for integrative medicine to be successful and effective.

Citation

Goldner, M. (2000), "Integrative medicine: Issues to consider in this emerging form of health care", Jacobs Kronenfeld, J. (Ed.) Health Care Providers, Institutions, and Patients: Changing Patterns of Care Provision and Care Delivery (Research in the Sociology of Health Care, Vol. 17), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 215-236. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0275-4959(00)80047-2

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, Emerald Group Publishing Limited