This text is written to make complex topics unintimidating and enjoyable to learn. The alternative and complementary therapies covered in this book are exciting, dynamic, and evolving disciplines. Learning about them should impart a feeling of interest rather than one of frustration. The text intends to make the research on these topics available to you in one accessible format. To this end, the text is written in such a way as to tell the "story" of each discipline—its history, philosophy, concepts, major players, benefits, failings, and possible future. You will learn to speak the conceptual "language" of each discipline, understand the mind-set of those who helped each discipline evolve, and determine where and how each intervention will fit in the larger scheme of Western medicine.
This information will serve you in a variety of situations. It will help you consider how these alternative therapies may be of value to you, the individual. It will improve your ability to discuss the pros and cons of each method with the patients you will serve. It will allow you to determine if or when cross reactions or contraindications are of concern. This text is created to serve as your guide through what can otherwise be treacherous waters.
The illustrations and tables are designed to assist you in conceptualizing bodies of information at a glance. Tables provide summaries of the most important studies and their outcomes. Illustrations and photographs are included to help you relate to intervention methods. Each "A Closer Look" discusses a case study or clinical applications and medical dilemmas reported in the literature. In each "An Expert Speaks" feature, an interview and comments from well-known researcher and/or practitioner in each discipline are presented. Views on current and future research, descriptions of research contributions, and historical context of research work are expounded.
Learning guides are included to help you structure your learning. At the beginning of each chapter, there are stated objectives. You will also find a chapter review. At the end of the chapters, there are lists of multiple choice, matching, and short essay review question exercises. Most importantly, you will find critical thinking questions that invite you to make many-sided connections between the concepts and information offered. I suggest you first read the objectives and the chapter review, "Chapter At a Glance," and then cruise the major headings of each chapter. This will assist you in structuring a frame of reference for the information to come. Then, and only then, read the entire chapter from scratch. Next, answer all the questions at the end of the chapter. Finally, review the areas where you have questions or need additional time to synthesize the material. Most of all, enjoy what you are learning.
I welcome your comments, suggestions, and ideas for improvement to future editions. Feel free to write to me.
Lyn Freeman, PhD
c/o Mosby, Inc.
Allied Health Editorial
11830 Westline Industrial Drive
St. Louis, Missouri 63146