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Table 1 Major cultural differences in corporate philosophy between conventional and complementary medicine

From: MERGING conventional and complementary medicine in a clinic department – a theoretical model and practical recommendations

  Conventional medicine Complementary medicine
Philosophy of care Positivistic approach [36]: Holistic approach: Bio-psycho-spiritual-social model [35, 36, 45]
• Importance is given to the knowledge of facts and experimental sciences [36] • The whole is more than the sum of its parts
• The patient is given the undivided clinical attention of the physician [52] • Body, mind and spirit are interrelated and must all be considered in healing
• Aims neither unilaterally at the body nor at the soul but treats the patient as a whole
Philosophy of healing • Health: − “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity” WHO Constitution [39] = criticized definition [53] as static and accentuating only subjective aspects [39] • Health, disease and therapy effects do not result solely from molecular interactions but also from the different causal interactions between these factors within the human being as a whole. [45]
- Other definitions are “ex-negativo” explanation: [54] • Healing = (re)establishment of the harmony between the functions of body, soul and spirit [45]
= Lack of deviance from biological norms [39], “Life with organ’s silence” [54] • Disease = disequilibrium between biological, psychological, social and spiritual forces [55]
• Disease = deviance from biological norms [39]
Norms - Therapeutic approach
Disease-oriented [44] Patient-oriented [44]
Specialization: Holistic approach [32, 34, 35]
• Opportunity for high competency in specialty fields [34, 39]; more efficiency [40] • Patients’ involvement, empowerment and responsibility in the self-management of their illnesses [32, 34, 36, 42, 45]
• Routine [40, 43] • Self-regulation of the body and its healing power; enhancing natural body reactions [34]
• Fragmentation of care (with communication and cooperation impediments) [34, 39] • Symptoms seen as a message from the organism, similar to an SOS [35]; look at underlying causes [45]
• Risk of losing the overall vision [34]
• Analytical [32, 34, 35] • Intuitive [32, 34]
• Deductive [32] • Inductive [32]
• Standardized [40] • Tailored to individual needs [32, 44, 45]
• Evidence-based [37]; scientific [32, 34, 35] • More or less spiritual therapeutic approaches [38]
Use of pharmacotherapy with predominantly proved effects [38] and high use of technology [43, 54] Use of natural treatments and remedies [45] with less technical equipment than CM [45]
Focus more on structure than outcomes: Focus more on outcomes than structure:
The quality of structure includes the personal, spatial, temporal, technical and organizational conditions of medical practice: availability, short waiting times, training and education [36] Outcome quality refers to therapeutic goals, such as improving and healing, patient satisfaction and quality of life, encouraging health-related behavior and self-responsibility, stimulating self-regulation, prevention [36]