Holism and Complementary Medicine: Origins and Principles

Holism and Complementary Medicine: Origins and Principles

Holism and Complementary Medicine: Origins and Principles

Holism and Complementary Medicine: Origins and Principles


This systematic overview of traditional healing practices discusses the increasing popularity of natural and complementary therapies. Covering the development of the Western biomedical model and explaining the holistic philosophy on which alternative Western medicine is based, this guide to the origins and core principals of natural therapies also addresses key practice issues such as the role holistic principles play in today's health care system and their place in the therapeutic relationship.


Over the last three decades, complementary medicine has been embraced in Western countries across the globe. It is estimated that about 60 per cent of Australians are using complementary medicine, and spend about $A2.3 billion on complementary medicines and the various therapies. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that about 45 per cent of Britons use complementary medicine, representing some 15 million consultations each year. And in the United States, it has been estimated that $US34 billion is spent annually on complementary medicine.

The rise of complementary medicine in highly developed countries is nothing less than phenomenal. Unlike biomedical health services and pharmaceutical medicines, frequently neither complementary medicine consultations nor remedies receive government subsidy. In spite of this inequity, consumers have been willing to pay for complementary medicines and services out of their own pockets.

Regarded as quacks only a decade ago, complementary medicine practitioners have steadily gained a reputation as primary contact practitioners. The acceptance of complementary medicine in the community is such that complementary medicine courses are now conducted at university level. In spite of this growth, however, scholarly writings on complementary medicine are still limited.

Holism and Complementary Medicine serves to address this deficiency. The author is strategically placed to offer deep insight into complementary medicine practice. He has been involved in complementary medicine education in such areas as naturopathy and herbal medicine since the early 1980s. More recently, he has participated in the design and teaching of undergraduate and graduate programs in Western herbal medicine, philosophical concepts of healing, and qualitative research methods. The perspectives presented in his book have developed from in-depth interviews with a number of highly experienced practitioners and teachers of complementary medicine. They have also been influenced by three decades of community practice in complementary medicine.

This book is divided into two main parts. The first deals with modern complementary medicine practice in a historical context. The second part examines complementary medicine from a medical philosophical perspective. It is often wisely uttered that to understand the present, one must understand . . .

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