Actions speak louder than words: Mainstream health providers’ definitions and behaviour regarding complementary and alternative medicine
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The purpose of this paper is to explore how mainstream practitioners define and categorize complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as one component of assessing their views. The following themes emerged from interviews with Canadian physicians, midwives and nurses: epistemological, evidence-based, medical domain, political-regulatory, funding-based, and role-based definitions of CAM. We also assess any possible links to their behaviour vis-à-vis CAM. We found that classifying something as CAM does not appear to inhibit most providers from recommending, referring for, or supporting their patients' use of these treatments. In conclusion, we highlight that despite their clear definitional boundaries around CAM, providers tend to evaluate each individual therapy on its own merits, taking other situational factors into consideration.
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