Articulating TCIM in Health Systems

This section is dedicated to the discussion of knowledges, reflections, and exchanges about the diversity of health paradigms, approaches, and models that support and make operative the proposals of intervention, healthcare, self-care, and strengthening of health associated to Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine (TCIM).

Here you will find, for example, proposals of healthcare and health strengthening models that have emerged in countries in the Region of the Americas.

Epistemological Reflections and Approaches in TCIM
This section is directed to both existing and ongoing reflections relative to health paradigms and epistemological approaches, based on different health models and practices in Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine.

Bibliographic resources
In this section you will find bibliographic references of documents, thesis products, degree academic projects, articles, and books, which provide reflections on health paradigms and contribute to the creation of integrative health models.

Documents conceptual models

Documents about the history of TCIM in the Americas region

Research groups/Academic Resources
Section where institutions are included, and research groups that offer specific spaces and resources oriented to reflections on medical rationalities, health paradigms and epistemological perspectives, which contribute to the development of conceptual models and models in health that include Traditional, Complementary and Integrative Medicine and related practices.

Soon you will find links to research groups.

Intercultural and Integrative Health Models
This section is directed to understand TCI Medicine intercultural and inclusive health models, as well as complementary and integrative health proposals developed by organizations, health authorities and/or communities from the different countries in the Americas.

TCIM definitions
This section brings the current definitions of international bodies that work in the framework of Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine, and related health therapies and practices.

There are some differences, and variations in the concepts and definitions of the TCIM, associated with the evolution of the implementation process in health services, and in the academic and research fields. This section seeks to present these diverse definitions in an inclusive manner.

Below we present the TCIM definitions of international institutions and organizations.

WHO World Health Organization Definitions

  • Traditional medicine: Traditional medicine has a long history. It is the sum total of the knowledge, skill, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.
  • Complementary medicine: The terms “complementary medicine” or “alternative medicine” refer to a broad set of health care practices that are not part of that country’s own tradition or conventional medicine and are not fully integrated into the dominant health-care system. They are used interchangeably with traditional medicine in some countries.
  • Herbal medicines: Herbal medicines include herbs, herbal materials, herbal preparations and finished herbal products, that contain as active ingredients parts of plants, or other plant materials, or combinations.

NCCIH ( National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health)

The following definitions were taken from the page of the NCCIH, Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What’s In a Name?

  • Natural Products: This group includes a variety of products, such as herbs (also known as botanicals), vitamins and minerals, and probiotics. They are widely marketed, readily available to consumers, and often sold as dietary supplements.
  • Mind and Body Practices: Mind and body practices include a large and diverse group of procedures or techniques administered or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher. The 2012 NHIS showed that yoga, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, meditation, and massage therapy are among the most popular mind and body practices used by adults. The popularity of yoga has grown dramatically in recent years, with almost twice as many U.S. adults practicing yoga in 2012 as in 2002.Other mind and body practices include acupuncture, relaxation techniques (such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation), tai chi, qi gong, healing touch, hypnotherapy, and movement therapies (such as Feldenkrais method, Alexander technique, Pilates, Rolfing Structural Integration, and Trager psychophysical integration). The amount of research on mind and body approaches varies widely depending on the practice. For example, researchers have done many studies on acupuncture, yoga, spinal manipulation, and meditation, but there have been fewer studies on some other practices
  • Other Complementary Health Approaches: The two broad areas discussed above—natural products and mind and body practices—capture most complementary health approaches. However, some approaches may not neatly fit into either of these groups—for example, the practices of traditional healers, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, and naturopathy.

Integrative Medicine

There are many definitions of “integrative” health care, but all involve bringing conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. The use of integrative approaches to health and wellness has grown within care settings across the United States. Researchers are currently exploring the potential benefits of integrative health in a variety of situations, including pain management for military personnel and veterans, relief of symptoms in cancer patients and survivors, and programs to promote healthy behaviors.

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