Exploring the Boundaries between Alternative Medicine and Biomedicine

2724 Words 11 Pages
Alternative medicine has been considered the “hidden mainstream” of patient care in America. As biomedicine increased in popularity, alternative methods of healing arose as a response to the treatments used by physicians. Historically, alternative (or “complementary”) medicine conveyed itself by highlighting its “natural” attributes. These characteristics attracted those who were wary of the chemicals used in allopathic medicines. Much of the skepticism that has accompanied complementary alternative medicine (CAM) stems from the lack of scientifically-based evidence that shows its efficacy; there is no “alternative” medicine there is simply “unproven” medicine (Fontanarosa and Lundberg 1618). This argument suggests that medicine and …show more content…
Alternative medicine has been considered the “hidden mainstream” of patient care in America. As biomedicine increased in popularity, alternative methods of healing arose as a response to the treatments used by physicians. Historically, alternative (or “complementary”) medicine conveyed itself by highlighting its “natural” attributes. These characteristics attracted those who were wary of the chemicals used in allopathic medicines. Much of the skepticism that has accompanied complementary alternative medicine (CAM) stems from the lack of scientifically-based evidence that shows its efficacy; there is no “alternative” medicine there is simply “unproven” medicine (Fontanarosa and Lundberg 1618). This argument suggests that medicine and healing are inherently scientific and avoids the cultural and spiritual aspects of the healing process. However, alternative medicine has been increasingly incorporated into biomedical practice and more research initiatives are working towards demonstrating its efficacy. An important advancement has been the relationship between allopathic physicians and alternative medicine. Throughout alternative medicine’s history, there have been some physicians who promoted “alternative” treatments. This campaign may have led to further acceptance and use of CAM. In this essay, I will explore the boundaries between alternative medicine and biomedicine, describe the involvement of physicians in alternative practices, and shed some light on the tensions that
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