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Evolution of natural medicine and biomedicine and their future roles in health care

Sherwood, Peter Thomas (2004) Evolution of natural medicine and biomedicine and their future roles in health care. PhD thesis, Victoria University of Technology.

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Abstract

This thesis investigates whether the natural medicine and biomedicine professions could cooperate for the benefit of patients within an integrated medical model. The investigation contains a substantive narrative and historical overview of the evolution of medicine. This provides a background to the investigation and an explanation of how the different medical paradigms evolved. As the natural medicine industries in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom evolved through private sector activity, they have only relatively recently attracted the interest of academia. For this reason the number of completed natural medicine doctoral theses is not considerable, and none appear to have been in the area of this thesis. Further, although there are numerous texts relating to the history of medicine, none adequately detail the evolution of the history and philosophy of natural medicine. Therefore, in order to comprehend the history and philosophy of biomedicine and natural medicine, and other related topics, the thesis critically evaluates a diverse range of secondary source material using philosophical-historiographical inquiry. Analysis of the research literature clarifies — particularly from the perspective of natural medicine — the evolution of medicine from prehistory to the Middle Ages when natural medicine practice was separated from Church and State approved medieval physick. Also, as medieval physick evolved into biomedicine, it further separated from natural medicine. It developed new paradigms, identified and treated new diseases, and made significant gains in clinical science, surgery, technology, drugs and other products. However, its safety and efficacy is coming under increasing academic scrutiny. Research also shows how natural medicine usage increased in the 20th century, particularly from the 1960s, and is currently used by 80 per cent of the world population. For the natural medicine paradigm to be as equally regarded as the biomedicine paradigm in a new integrated medical model, it needs to retain, amongst other things, its differences — particularly the natural medicine concepts of holism, vitalism, the mind-body connection, spirit, detoxification, digestion and immunity — which are clarified in the thesis. The thesis also investigates various models of integrated medicine and determines that the Australian Voluntary Integrated Model allows biomedicine and natural medicine practitioners and their clients to cooperate within a model underpinned by mutual recognition and respect. The strengths and limitations of this thesis arise from its originality. Because it traverses new academic territory it will be a useful base for future research. Also, the sections relating to the evolution of the history and philosophy of natural medicine are immediately available for use in natural medicine and other educational programmes. The thesis concludes by discussing future research opportunities, which appear to be open to several academic disciplines.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alternative medicine, medical care, natural medicine
Subjects: FOR Classification > 1103 Clinical Sciences
FOR Classification > 1104 Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
Depositing User: VU Library
Date Deposited: 21 May 2010 06:15
Last Modified: 23 May 2013 16:42
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/15314
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