It's time for conventional medical experts to prove the science behind their medicine by demonstrating successful, nontoxic, and affordable patient outcomes. Dr. Robert Bonakdar, director of pain management at Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California, said that over the past few years he has seen two to three times more referrals” in which the patient or provider is asking for integrative therapies.
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Thus many mainstream medical school curricula now present the practice of medicine as a complex activity drawing on emotional and interpersonal processes as well as cognitive processes that require a broad range of knowledge bases, including biomedical, epidemiologic, psychosocial, cultural, economic, and ethical.
Perhaps the most signi?cant challenge posed by the introduction of integrative medicine competencies into the conventional medical school curriculum is that alternative health care systems often challenge the paradigm of understanding human health and illness that underlies modern biomedicine.
In my view, there are six significant points that distinguish alternative medicine from the medical mainstream: a belief in holism; an emphasis on the integration of body, mind, and spirit; a view of health as a positive state on a continuum with illness; a belief that the body is suffused by the flow of energy; a belief in vitalism; and a distinctive view of the healing process.