The practice of CAM presents many challenges to Western science. How does acupuncture work, and what is qi? How can dilute homeopathic remedies induce effects on biologic systems? What are the chakras, or energy centers, so integral to yoga and Ayurveda? These mysteries present us with opportunities for new discoveries and an expansion of our healing capacities (eAppendix 11-3). Many scientists are showing how research in biophysics and bio-magnetism is helping to elucidate the subtle energies of
Table 11-11 Precautions in Complementary and Alternative Medicine
1. Primum non nocere (first, do no harm).
2. Patients may encounter complications if they abandon effective, conventional therapies in favor of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
3. Medicolegal issues and certification or qualification requirements of practitioners are important topics, not covered in this chapter.
biologic systems, including those of humans. Advanced technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and infrared thermography are demonstrating amazing images that seem to correlate with empiric knowledge (eAppendix 11-4).
Open-minded scientists are helping to bridge the worlds of CAM and conventional medicine by linking research findings to those of clinical practice (Oschman, 2002). "Let us document each of these fascinating clues. We will connect the dots by describing an information system in the body that is the missing link for many phenomena that have seemed hopelessly inexplicable in the past. It is a system that is responsible for extraordinary feasts of perception, movement, and healing" (Oschman, 2003, p. xiv).
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