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What is the difference between Holistic Medicine, Alternative Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Integrative Medicine and TCM?

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  • Holistic Medicine is any medical system that does not use the reductionist approach to human body. Generally Holistic Medicine sees the patient as a whole person and will take into account the effects of psychological and social factors on this person’s health. TCM can be considered as a Holistic Medicine but there are other independent medical systems that are also holistic in nature.
  • Alternative Medicine is any medical system that are used to replace Conventional Medicine. In certain circumstances, a patient may choose to use TCM instead of Modern Conventional Medicine. In those circumstances, TCM can be considered as Alternative Medicine. However, there are other medical systems independent of TCM that can also be used as Alternative Medicine.
  • Complementary Medicine is any medical system that are used to support or to enhance Modern Conventional Medicine. In certain circumstances, a patient may choose to use TCM in addition to their treatment in Conventional Medicine. In those circumstances, TCM can be considered as Complementary Medicine, however there are many other medical systems that are also Complementary Medicine.
  • Integrative Medicine is medical system in which practitioners incorporate one medical system (usually Conventional Medicine) with another medical system and practice them together. However, because there is currently no “Universal Theory” that can merge all the different medical systems, integrative medicine only works in the treatment level. The practicing physician choose which theory to apply according to his/her experience.


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3 responses to “What is the difference between Holistic Medicine, Alternative Medicine, Complementary Medicine, Integrative Medicine and TCM?”
  1. Maxine moore Avatar
    Maxine moore

    Was looking to understand the difference in holistic and intergrative therapies. The article was very inlighting. I learned some things that was helpful. Thank You.

  2. Caden Dahl Avatar
    Caden Dahl

    It is good to know the difference between the four of these is for those who don’t know, people will probably think they are all the same. Now I’ve been having some slight pain in my lower back and I don’t know a whole lot about why it started. What approach do you think I should take to see about fixing this?

  3. Tamara Connaughton Avatar
    Tamara Connaughton

    Learning about holistic medicine helped me understand that it focuses on treating the whole person by considering their physical, mental, and emotional well-being, making it a great alternative to conventional medicine.

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