J Altern Complement Med. 1995 Jan; 1(1): 93-8.
Introducing alternative/complementary healing to allopathic medical students.
Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology, Wayne State University Medical School, Detroit, MI, USA.
We have designed a senior elective, Introduction to Alternative Medicine, to prepare our students better to practice in multicultural environments, and to expand their views of health and healing. We combined didactic lecture, films, first-hand experience with some methods, and observation of alternative practitioners in their offices/clinics. Students explored hypnosis, chiropractic, therapeutic touch, meditation, biofeedback, acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, and massage therapy. Discussions of scientific efficacy, legal and ethical considerations, and the role of spirituality in health and healing focused on limitations of science-based approaches and reasons why alternative/complementary methods are popular with patients and allopathic physicians. We conclude that allopathic medical schools have an important role in reducing the isolation of their students from alternative health beliefs, practices, and systems of care that are common in our communities.