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The spectrum of therapeutic influences and integrative health care: classifying health care practices by mode of therapeutic action.

Jones, Curtis H.
J Altern Complement Med; 11(5): 937-44, 2005 Oct.
Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-16296930
The growing popularity of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and integrative medicine (IM) highlight the need for a clinically relevant system for classifying health care practices. All systems, modalities, and techniques of health care (conventional, complementary, alternative, and traditional) can be organized in categories of "primary mode of therapeutic action." This results in six categories: biochemical; biomechanical; mind-body; energy; psychological (symbolic); and nonlocal. In each category, there are subdivisions. Organizing health care by primary mode of therapeutic action has numerous benefits: (1) conventional and CAM practitioners, and the public, can readily see some of the general similarities and differences among practices; (2) health care educators gain a common foundation and shared language for explaining CAM and IM; (3) professionals and the public, wishing to combine dissimilar practices, gain a common framework for evaluating the meaning of integration; and (4) the crossover problem can be understood as a natural occurrence in health care, not a confusing intellectual dilemma. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) system of categories for CAM is briefly critiqued.