Views on health and disease in alternative and conventional medicine. A qualitative study based in focus group interviews with alternative therapists, medical doctors with background in alternative medicine and general practitioners
In 2007, 48.7 % of the Norwegian population used Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) outside the healthcare system with acupuncture, homeopathy, reflexology, massage therapy and hands on healing being the most common. Research suggests that conventional medicine’s view on health and disease is reductionist, evidence-based and biomedical, while CAM’s view is holistic and experience-based. The aim of this research project is to explore how medical doctors (MDs) and practitioners of CAM view health and disease. A qualitative study was conducted, using focus group interviews: one group consisting of different CAM practitioners (homeopath, acupuncturist, hands on healer, massage therapist), one with medical doctors with CAM background (MDs/CAM) and one with General Practitioners (GPs). Findings from the GP group is that they work out of a biomedical view, practice from the bio-psycho-social model, practice evidence based whenever possible, and change their work practices according to the latest research. The CAM practitioners consider energy to be important, blocked energy is connected to disease, and free flowing energy means good health. They see themselves as working holistically. The MDs/CAM work with an understanding that both energy and the biomedical view are important. Another significant difference between the groups is the level of education. The GPs have a six-year university education while that of the CAM practitioners is variable, from none to several years of education. In this study, the GPs viewed themselves to be more similar to the CAM group than to other MDs in many aspects, especially they considered themselves as more holistic in their view of the patients. For further research, it would be beneficial to interview different groups of MDs. In addition, it would be interesting to interview different CAM professions separately since they express different views on many issues on health and disease.
ForlagUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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