As an instructor, I know that teaching is more complicated than simply presenting information. A teacher should teach within a framework that is easy to understand, that is readily accessible and enticing to each student, and that challenges the thinking processes. An effective teacher wants to inspire the student to go beyond what is taught and to explore the literature in greater detail. If what is learned by the student is transferred from comprehension to real-life application, the teacher has performed his or her job in a superior manner.
It is my goal to make the process of learning about complementary medicine as intelligible and enjoyable as possible. This does not mean that the information will lack complexity. The information that is covered in this text will be research-dense and application-driven. Printed matter, presented in story format with informative examples, will enhance the learning process. Comments by persons well known in each field, descriptions of timely topics and recent medical advances, case studies, and profiles of the history and philosophy of each discipline will be interwoven into each topic area. Research will be critically reviewed, students will be presented with examples of exceptional and fatally flawed studies, and suggested designs for continuing research will be delineated.
The domain of complementary medicine cuts across many professional disciplines. This text is written to provide support to as many of those disciplines as possible. The text, in its entirety, provides a comprehensive review of complementary medicine and alternative therapies for health professionals at both the undergraduate and the graduate levels. Graduate students may want to perform research in alternative fields. Detailed descriptions of study designs will provide potential models for replication.
The text is an excellent supplement for continuing education courses. I currently teach much of the information provided in this text as CEU and CME credits for practicing health professionals.
The business sector will also benefit from the information provided in this book. HMOs, hospitals, insurance companies, and health professionals currently struggle with the need to meet client demand for complementary therapies. A review of this text will help these organizations and individuals determine which interventions are safe and appropriate. Physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social workers can determine how to refer patients for alternative care. Health care professionals can teach themselves about the alternative therapies their patients are using, thereby improving their ability to communicate accurately and openly with the patients they serve. Indications and contraindications for therapies are also included, assisting health practitioners in avoiding unexpected complications.
The text can be used in full or in part. For example, psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers will find Units One and Two (Mind-Body Integration and Mind-Body Interventions) most beneficial. Those individuals interested in learning about the most popular complementary practices will be enlightened by Unit Three (Alternative Professionals). Pharmacists, physical therapists, and fitness trainers will turn their attention to Unit Four (Complementary Self-Help Strategies). Unit Five (Energetics and Spirituality), will appeal to critical care and hospice nurses, environmental health practitioners, and individuals interested in spiritual healing.
of Critical Thinking
Critical thinking is disciplined, self-directed, in‐ depth, rational thinking that leads to clear, relevant, and fair thinking. It is the art of constructive skepticism and of identifying and removing bias, prejudice, and one-sided thought. Critical thinking verifies what we know, and it clarifies and informs when we are ignorant (Paul, 1993, p. 47).
Perhaps no discipline demands critical thinking more than the study of complementary and alternative medicine. Why is this so? All thinking