Rediscovering the Art of Medicine: Alternative Medicine and Psychoneuroimmunology

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Medicine and Health Sciences | Psychology


Bruce Woolmering


Through its reductionist paradigm, Western medicine has made many important advances in the understanding of the body and the treatment of a wide variety of somatic disorders. However, through the development of medicine's scientific aspects, Western medicine has sacrificed much of the art and humanness of medicine. The result has been an increasingly costly system that while prolonging the lives of its patients, does not necessarily restore them to health. Alternative therapies and developments in psychoneuroimmunology are illustrating the effectiveness of addressing the whole person and allowing the patient to be more responsible for their own health care. These advances are raising important questions about the nature of disease and the role of the healer. The future of medicine depends on its ability to integrate the biochemical understanding and intervention procedures of the West with the holistic preventative approach characterizing many cultural medical systems. The continued integration of these two worldviews is imperative so that the health care needs of future patients can effectively be met.