Integrative Medicine: Cooperation or Polarization? : Integrating complementary and alternative medical practice in a biomedical environment: theory and practice.

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Hälsa och samhälle

Abstract: Alongside the complementary and alternative medicine movements, a new concept is emerging: integrative medicine. Though more and more authors have begun to use this term, they use it to refer to widely varying concepts of health care. This study begins with a theoretical look at integration and continues with an examination of current integrative efforts. These general discussions are followed by the presentation of the situation in Sweden, and at the Vidarklinik in particular. Finally the study turns to an empirical study investigating the communication between the Vidarklinik and the outside biomedical system. The research suggests a much more comprehensive picture of integrative medicine than those put forward by most authors and finds that to create and maintain an integrative system, all the levels of health care must be actively engaged in the system and the entire spectrum of care must be coordinated for the patient. Attempts at integration are found in diverse local efforts, which are all limited by lack of cooperation between different levels of health care. The study of communication at the Vidarklinik in Sweden illustrates that communication is crucial between all levels of health care in order for even relatively localised efforts in integration, and further that various factors limit whom various individuals and groups can communicate with, while in-person dialogue mitigates some of these factors.

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