Ted J. Kaptchuk, OMD; David M. Eisenberg, MD
Medicine has become interested in unconventional healing practices, ostensibly because of recent demographic research that reveals a thriving medical market of multiple options. This essay presents a historical overview of medical pluralism in the United States. Consistent evidence is examined suggesting that unconventional medicine has been a persistent presence in U.S. health care. Despite parallels with the past, the recent widespread interest in alternative medicine also represents a dramatic reconfiguration of medical pluralismâ€”from historical antagonism to what might arguably be described as a topical acknowledgment of postmodern medical diversity. This recent shift may have less to do with acknowledging â€œnewâ€ survey data than with representing shifts in medicine's institutional authority in a consumer-driven health care environment. This essay is an introduction to a discussion of a taxonomy of contemporary U.S. medical pluralism, which also appears in this issue.
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Kaptchuk TJ, Eisenberg DM. Varieties of Healing. 1: Medical Pluralism in the United States. Ann Intern Med. 2001;135:189-195. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-135-3-200108070-00011
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2001;135(3):189-195.
Education and Training, Healthcare Delivery and Policy, Prevention/Screening.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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