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Integrative Medicine

  • By: Barbara F. Sharf & Patricia Geist-Martin
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Integrative medicine (IM) is a term used to refer to the combination of conventional, allopathic medical approaches with healing modalities based on systems of beliefs and values not typically included within biomedical practice; the term is generally referred to as complementary/alternative medicine (CAM). The underlying principle in this combination of therapeutic approaches is holistic care of patients, using all appropriate therapies leading to well-being. In the United States, IM started to systematize and gain public recognition in the mid-1990s.

Another major precept of IM is that it is inquiry-driven, open to new paradigms of knowing, and confirmed by scientific investigation. Thus, inclusion and integration of CAM modalities must be evidence-based, that is, supported by scientifically derived proof of safety and effectiveness. An early progenitor of integrative ...

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