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July 24, 1996

Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine

JAMA. 1996;276(4):334-335. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540040078041

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Fundamentals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine is appropriate for medical students, physicians, nurses, and allied health practitioners who seek an understanding of approaches to medicine not based on traditional Western methods. Such an understanding is important, since many patients have complete confidence in nontraditional approaches.

The book begins with a description of the general characteristics of complementary and alternative medicine and then elaborates on relevant cultural and historical ideas. Complementary therapy systems (homeopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic, and Western herbalism) and approaches (healing touch, aromatherapy, and light therapy) and integrated and traditional systems (naturopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, and curanderismo) are covered in detail. The text ends with an excellent chapter on global health traditions. There is a clear and concise review of scientific research in each field of complementary and alternative medicine for which research results exist. I first heard of curanderismo as a medical student in Denver, Colo, where I