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Limitations of Western Medicine and Models of Integration Between Medical Systems

Limitations of Western Medicine and Models of Integration Between Medical Systems

Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 22(5): 343-348

ISSN/ISBN: 1075-5535

PMID: 27070976

DOI: 10.1089/acm.2015.0381

This article analyzes two major limitations of Western medicine: maturity and incompleteness. From this viewpoint, Western medicine is considered an incomplete system for the explanation of living matter. Therefore, through appropriate integration with other medical systems, in particular nonconventional approaches, its knowledge base and interpretations may be widened. This article presents possible models of integration of Western medicine with homeopathy, the latter being viewed as representative of all complementary and alternative medicine. To compare the two, a medical system was classified into three levels through which it is possible to distinguish between different medical systems: epistemological (first level), theoretical (second level), and operational (third level). These levels are based on the characterization of any medical system according to, respectively, a reference paradigm, a theory on the functioning of living matter, and clinical practice. The three levels are consistent and closely consequential in the sense that from epistemology derives theory, and from theory derives clinical practice. Within operational integration, four models were identified: contemporary, alternative, sequential, and opportunistic. Theoretical integration involves an explanation of living systems covering simultaneously the molecular and physical mechanisms of functioning living matter. Epistemological integration provides a more thorough and comprehensive explanation of the epistemic concepts of indeterminism, holism, and vitalism to complement the reductionist approach of Western medicine; concepts much discussed by Western medicine while lacking the epistemologic basis for their emplacement. Epistemologic integration could be reached with or without a true paradigm shift and, in the latter, through a model of fusion or subsumption.

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Accession: 058218572

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