Researchers of Traditional, Complementary, Alternative, & Integrative Medicine and Health

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Making Sense of “Alternative”, “Complementary”, “Unconventional” and “Integrative” Medicine: Exploring the Terms and Meanings Through a Textual Analysis

Medical pluralism has flourished despite efforts to legitimize Western biomedical health care as “conventional medicine”, thereby relegating non-physician forms of healing to an “other” category. These “other” practitioners have been labelled as “unorthodox”, “unconventional”, “alternative” and “complementary”, among other terms throughout history. The changes in these terms and their meanings are the subject of this inquiry. By exploring the peer-reviewed medical literature discourses with a focus on the individuals and groups that were instrumental in these changes, this study sheds light on how conventional practitioners and researchers understand, label and categorize “others” providing health care to patients. Read more here.