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Health (London). 2010 May;14(3):326-42. doi: 10.1177/1363459309358594.

Understanding the emerging relationship between complementary medicine and mainstream health care: a review of the literature.

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Flinders University, Australia.


The history of the relationship between complementary medicine (CM) and mainstream health care has shifted from the early days of pluralism, through hostility and exclusion, to one of grudging acceptance. The current situation is one of a tacit acknowledgement and in some cases open endorsement by biomedicine for a number of forms of CM practice, largely driven by the popularity of CM to consumers in our increasingly market driven health care system. How this relationship is ultimately worked out will impact both on the practice of CM and biomedicine, and on the health care choices available to consumers. In this article we review the research and commentary literature on the current and emerging relationship between biomedicine and CM. In particular we explore the ways in which mainstream inclusion of CM is discussed in the literature, and the biomedical and CM perspectives of mainstream CM inclusion. Finally we discuss the implications of the emerging relationship for CM, and CM practitioners and consumers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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