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J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Aug;10(4):706-10.

Integrating Chinese traditional medicine into a U.S. public health paradigm.

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Clinical Research and Integrative Medicine Programs, Moody Health Center, TCC, Pasadena, TX, USA.


Chinese traditional medicine (CTM) is a health care system with an extensive history of practical clinical experience. The foundation of CTM, while relatively simple, is substantively different from much of allopathic medicine. Such differences are difficult to explain using a Western medical vocabulary, and extend beyond linguistic foundations. This proves challenging when trying to identify appropriate teaching and research methods that are sensitive to the CTM paradigm and yet relevant to a public health orientation. Given the increased use of CTM, it becomes important to address possibilities that would ensure successful integration of CTM into a public health framework. We propose a model in which both CTM and biomedical clinical services could be offered to provide diverse, yet truly integrative, therapeutic approaches. Within this model, it is critical to enhance reciprocal educational and research-directed opportunities for both CTM practitioners and allopathic clinicians. Considerable responsibility rests upon academic institutions in becoming proactive in developing and implementing educational curricula and research programs that illustrate more effectively the potential bilateral benefit(s), limitations, and, ultimately, roles that CTM and biomedical approaches may assume within an integrative system of care.

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