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Complementary and alternative medicine : nature, origins, ethics and regulation


Complementary and alternative medicine : nature, origins, ethics and regulation

O'Rourke, Patricia Mary (2001) Complementary and alternative medicine : nature, origins, ethics and regulation. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Types of healing alternative to conventional medicine became increasingly popular in the latter quarter of the twentieth century and some physicians, hospitals and governments have begun to take the field seriously. While alternatives to whatever is considered to be conventional medicine have always existed, contemporary interest in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) may be evidence of interest in unconventional forms of spirituality. Healing and religion have an ancient connection not often acknowledged by modern science. The attraction to medical alternatives may represent for some a deep need to find meaning and wholeness in suffering. Others, wishing to expand medical choice, may be drawn to alternatives that are more "medical" in type. The journey towards health, particularly when spiritual in nature, is not without risk. The public has a right to be assured that publicly advertised healing methods are safe and their practitioners regulated and accountable. Unlike conventional medicine, alternative medicine in Canada is largely unregulated and some practitioners are inadequately trained and unaccountable to any official body. Given the increasing popularity and growing respectability of complementary and alternative medicine, it is important that Canadian society finds ways to regulate the field. The first three sections examine the field of complementary and alternative medicine, bioethics, the relationship between religion and healing and the major philosophical and spiritual concepts in which different alternative healing methods are grounded. Section four takes an "ethics-led" approach to regulation (Stone and Matthews, 1996). It applies the four principles of autonomy, non-maleficence, beneficence and justice, first elucidated in the Belmont Report (1978), to complementary and alternative medicine to see if these ethical principles, taught widely in medical schools, form an adequate ethical framework for CAMs or whether CAMs have features that require additional principles. The thesis concludes that while the four principles adequately encompass many of the ethical dilemmas presented in the practice of complementary and alternative medicine, a fifth principle, the fiduciary principle, is probably necessary to take into account the distinctively religious or spiritual aspects of many types of CAMs.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Religions and Cultures
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:O'Rourke, Patricia Mary
Pagination:viii, 479 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Bird, Frederick Bruce
Identification Number:R 733 O76 2001
ID Code:1531
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 17:20
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 19:49
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