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By Sarah Cant

This comparative textual content examines the increase of non-orthodox medication and theorizes the altering nature of healthiness care in smooth societies. It engages with sociological debates on modernity and postmodernity, anthropological paintings.

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Additional info for A New Medical Pluralism: Complementary Medicine, Doctors, Patients And The State

Sample text

Pluralism is consequently constrained by the supply of practitioners. Nevertheless, they too seem to be increasing in number and professionalism and it is to their story that we now turn. Notes 1. To talk of lay health beliefs, the lay perspective and the lay public should be recognized as a shorthand description and is not intended to convey any sense that the lay populace is homogeneous or indeed fixed. On the contrary, the lay public should be recognized as heterogeneous, multi-vocal, and as holding complex and changing views and attitudes.

Or as a respondent in Cant’s study also explained, I tend to get depressed and then I get fat because I eat more. The general practitioner said to go out more and use prozac. You just get a prescription but you don’t get to the bottom of why you are depressed because they haven’t got the time to get to the root cause and because they have not been trained to treat you totally and wholly. Most first consultations with alternative practitioners tend to last well over an hour (Sharma 1992, Cant & Calnan 1991) although again we must be cautious about making generalizations.

Holding multiple understandings of what facilitates health and causes disease would suggest a form of pluralism. But to what extent is this new? If previous studies have taught us anything it is that patients hold a complex and often contradictory set of ideas about health and illness (Stacey 1988). However, if these views encourage using a mix of services, a more critical stance towards the medical experts and a shift from patient to consumer then there has been a shift in behaviour and attitude.

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