Soc Sci Med. 1987 ; 25(6): 659-67.
Toward a comprehensive evaluation of alternative medicine.
China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing.
Recently, there has been an increasing interest from both the health consuming public and governments towards medical systems other than regular cosmopolitan medicine. Whether alternatives from various medical resources is justified needs careful, in-depth investigation. The objectives of assessing alternative medicine (AM) are first discussed as this has a direct bearing on whether or not an impartial assessment can be made. The different titles given to AM are then investigated with a preference given to traditional medicine (TM) rather than AM and others. Different approaches, including time trials, the problem of treating acute-chronic and functional-organic diseases, integrated assessment and an overall and comprehensive approach, are then discussed. Descriptions are based mainly on background material from China, offering an experience of several decades in this regard, which serve as a base for further discussion.