Complementary Medicine and Science: Uncomfortable Bedfellows?

Shine, G. and Rhodes, G. 2012. Complementary Medicine and Science: Uncomfortable Bedfellows? The International Journal of Science in Society. 3 (1), pp. 167-175.

TitleComplementary Medicine and Science: Uncomfortable Bedfellows?
AuthorsShine, G. and Rhodes, G.
Abstract

Complementary medicine is a term used to describe a range of therapeutic treatments. The
public demand for such treatments has been rising steadily, with a growth of 18% in the UK between
2007 and 2009 (Mintel 2009), consequently the need for properly trained practitioners is increasing.
The University of Westminster in London offers a range of degrees in complementary medicine, within
which practitioner-training is combined with a rigorous education in health sciences. There are some
who question whether BSc courses in complementary medicine should exist, arguing that the belief
system which underpins many therapies is in conflict with science. Whilst the underlying philosophy
of complementary medicine might be incompatible with that of science, it is undeniable that those who
practice their techniques upon people, and particularly ill people, should–indeed must–have a thorough
education in how the human body works in health and disease. Hereby lies the dilemma; how can one
reconcile the learning and teaching of science with the principles of unconventional treatments? It is
of course evident that the human mind is perfectly capable of dealing with many, often diverse, schemata,
but this does not prevent the resulting tensions presenting some conflict. There are some complementary
medicine students or practitioners who feel passionately that their approach represents the truth, and
feel some indignation that others might question it. Others may feel that they are too often judged
against science and conventional medicine and found wanting. It is therefore at times difficult for both
the learner and the teacher of science within this millieu. If a student feels somewhat antagonistic to
‘science’, their learning is likely to be impaired. For the teacher these students are difficult to engage
and so their subjects are regarded as obligatory hurdles, often with poor outcomes.

KeywordsComplementary Medicine, Science, University, Learning and Teaching
JournalThe International Journal of Science in Society
Journal citation3 (1), pp. 167-175
ISSN1836-6236
Year2012
PublisherCommon Ground
Web address (URL)http://ijy.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.187/prod.182

Related outputs

The changing landscape of e-textbooks: smarter, interactive and engaging learning
Kwan, I., Wright, T. and Rhodes, G. 2014. The changing landscape of e-textbooks: smarter, interactive and engaging learning. Westminster Learning and Teaching Symposium. Marylebone, London

Learning by devising Assessments: How to harness the enthusiasm of our students in their own learning.
Rhodes, G. 2014. Learning by devising Assessments: How to harness the enthusiasm of our students in their own learning. Crowdsourcing in HE. Bristol Feb 2014

Respiratory and non-respiratory sinus arrhythmia: implications for heart rate variability
McMullen, M.K., Whitehouse, J., Towell, A. and Rhodes, G. 2012. Respiratory and non-respiratory sinus arrhythmia: implications for heart rate variability. Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing. 26 (1), pp. 21-28. doi:10.1007/s10877-011-9327-8

Why do I need to learn this? Inspiring first year students
Rhodes, G. 2011. Why do I need to learn this? Inspiring first year students. Effective Learning in the Biosciences. Edinburgh Jun 2011

The immediate and short-term chemosensory impacts of coffee and caffeine on cardiovascular activity
McMullen, M.K., Whitehouse, J., Shine, G., Whitton, P.A., Towell, A. and Rhodes, G. 2011. The immediate and short-term chemosensory impacts of coffee and caffeine on cardiovascular activity. Food & Function. 2 (9), pp. 547-554. doi:10.1039/C1FO10102A

Habitual coffee and tea drinkers experienced increases in blood pressure after consuming low to moderate doses of caffeine; these increases were larger upright than in the supine posture
McMullen, M.K., Whitehouse, J., Rhodes, G. and Towell, A. 2011. Habitual coffee and tea drinkers experienced increases in blood pressure after consuming low to moderate doses of caffeine; these increases were larger upright than in the supine posture. Food & Function. 2 (3-4), pp. 197-203. doi:10.1039/c0fo00166j

Plagiarism – a hanging offence or poor referencing
Shine, G. and Rhodes, G. 2010. Plagiarism – a hanging offence or poor referencing. Centre for Bioscience Representatives Forum. Cardiff Sep 2010

The Finometer can function as a standalone instrument in blood pressure variability studies and does not require support equipment to determine breathing frequency
Mcmullen, M., Whitehouse, J., Shine, G., Towell, A. and Rhodes, G. 2010. The Finometer can function as a standalone instrument in blood pressure variability studies and does not require support equipment to determine breathing frequency. Blood Pressure Monitoring. 15 (4), pp. 220-4. doi:10.1097/MBP.0b013e328339e198

Permalink - https://westminsterresearch.westminster.ac.uk/item/9v262/complementary-medicine-and-science-uncomfortable-bedfellows


Share this
Tweet
Email