Integration and Paradigm Clash

The Practical Difficulties of Integrative Medicine

Published in: The Mainstreaming of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Studies in Social Context / Edited by Philip Tovey, Gary Easthope and Jon Adams (London ; New York: Routledge, 2004), p. 103-122

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2004

by Ian D. Coulter

Despite all the concerns in orthodox medicine about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), it is clear that a major paradigm shift is also occurring within medicine itself. Within a very short period of time, medicine has moved from outright hostility to CAM to acknowledging its existence and finally co-operating with, and embracing, CAM. Increasingly, medicine is incorporating CAM into medical education and practice. Furthermore, this paradigm is increasingly being identified as `integrative medicine'. This chapter will explore the challenge posed by trying to integrate two paradigms that hold fundamentally contradictory beliefs, and differing philosophies, about health and healthcare. The chapter will draw on Thomas Kuhn's (1962) work on paradigms to explore this problem.

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