The Intersection Between Models of Health and How Healing Transpires: A Metaethnographic Synthesis of Complementary Medicine Practitioners' Perceptions.

Mary Ann Liebert
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 2021, 27, (7), pp. 538-549
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Introduction: This metaethnography provides an interpretative synthesis of complementary medicine (CM) practitioners' perceptions toward their health model and the healing process. CM is commonly described on the basis of its distinction from biomedicine with limited research available on CM practitioners' understanding of what the essence of their practice is and how healing transpires as a result. This is despite the significant patronage of CM and high rates of couse with biomedical services. Materials and Methods: An extensive and systematic search of the literature was conducted across seven databases (AMED, SINAHL, Medline, PsycINFO, PUBMED, Science Direct, and Scopus) with no date, language, or region restrictions applied. The basis for the search was MeSH terms and keywords relating to (1) CM practitioners, (2) perceptions, and (3) healing. A screening process was conducted and articles were identified for inclusion based on their addressing the research question. These articles were then quality appraised. A seven-stage metaethnographic framework was utilized to assist with identifying and interpreting the themes within the data. Results: Following the screening process, merely 10 qualitative studies were identified, which represented practitioner views across 22 CM professions. CM practitioners believe they provide a distinct model of care informed by a traditional shared holistic and vitalistic philosophy. Nonspecific factors, such as an augmented therapeutic relationship, empathy, and patient empowerment, are actively and deliberately incorporated into the treatment process alongside specific interventions and afforded equal valued. Conclusions: This metaethnographic synthesis brings together the perceptions of CM practitioners on how healing transpires within the CM clinical setting. In a context of medical pluralism and aspirational integrative health care, this synthesis highlights the understanding and approach CM practitioners bring to health management and may assist in further defining CM philosophy and practice, and the positioning of CM in the contemporary health care landscape.
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