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J Relig Health. 2014 Aug;53(4):1161-75. doi: 10.1007/s10943-013-9721-2.

Perspectives of Indian traditional and allopathic professionals on religion/spirituality and its role in medicine: basis for developing an integrative medicine program.

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AdiBhat Foundation, R-90, Greater Kailash-I, New Delhi, 110048, India,


Allopathic medical professionals in developed nations have started to collaborate with traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM) to enquire on the role of religion/spirituality (r/s) in patient care. There is scant evidence of such movement in the Indian medical community. We aim to understand the perspectives of Indian TCAM and allopathic professionals on the influence of r/s in health. Using RSMPP (Religion, Spirituality and Medicine, Physician Perspectives) questionnaire, a cross-sectional survey was conducted at seven (five TCAM and two allopathic) pre-selected tertiary care medical institutes in India. Findings of TCAM and allopathic groups were compared. Majority in both groups (75% of TCAM and 84.6% of allopathic practitioners) believed that patients' spiritual focus increases with illness. Up to 58% of TCAM and allopathic respondents report patients receiving support from their religious communities; 87% of TCAM and 73% of allopaths believed spiritual healing to be beneficial and complementary to allopathic medical care. Only 11% of allopaths, as against 40% of TCAM, had reportedly received 'formal' training in r/s. Both TCAM (81.8%) and allopathic (63.7%) professionals agree that spirituality as an academic subject merits inclusion in health education programs (p = 0.0003). Inclusion of spirituality in the health care system is a need for Indian medical professionals as well as their patients, and it could form the basis for integrating TCAM and allopathic medical systems in India.

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