The popularity and practice of alternative medicine continues to
expand at astonishing rates. In Healing Traditions, Bonnie
Blair O'Connor considers the conflicts that arise between the
values and assumptions of Western, scientific medicine and those of
unconventional health systems. Providing in-depth examples of the
importance and benefits of alternative health practices-including
the extraordinarily extensive and sophisticated HIV/AIDS
alternative therapies movement-O'Connor identifies ways to
integrate alternative strategies with orthodox medical treatments
in order to ensure the best possible care for patients.
In spite of the long-standing prediction that, as science and
medicine progressed-and education became more generally
available-unconventional systems would die out, they have persisted
with undiminished vitality. They have, in fact, experienced a
reinvigoration and expansion during the last fifteen to twenty
years. In the United States, this renewal is fueled by people
representing a wide cross-section of American society, and most of
them also use conventional medicine. This eclecticism can result in
conflicts between the values and assumptions of Western, scientific
medicine and those of unconventional health systems.
O'Connor demonstrates the importance of understanding how various
belief systems interact and how this interaction affects health
care. She argues that through neutral observation and thorough
description of health belief systems it is possible to gain an
understanding of those systems, to identify likely points of
conflict among systems-especially conflicts that may occur in
conventional care settings-and to intervene in ways that ensure the
best possible care for patients.
Subjects: Health Sciences
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