The Assessment of Therapies in Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Is a Biomedical Approach the Complete Answer?

By Phillip Carl Silverman.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: January 24, 2014 $US5.00

A growing reality in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the need for practice to be validated by research. This is evident with the application of evidence-based medicine (EBM) to the larger landscape of healthcare. What appears less prevalent in the literature is discussion around the theoretical structure within which a body of scientific knowledge will be developed in CAM-related fields, and specifically whether assessment according to a purely biomedical framework is always appropriate. This paper will look at what can be learned from the experience of aligned fields, such as psychology, that have a long standing history of evaluating how to assess therapies and evaluate how that experience can inform the assessment of manual therapies, specifically massage therapy. Recent findings of a qualitative study will be presented to provide some initial insight into developing a theoretical model for the assessment of massage therapy.

Keywords: Evidence-based Medicine, Evidence-based Practice, Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Massage Therapy, Manual Therapy

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, March 2014, pp.17-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: January 24, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 348.379KB)).

Phillip Carl Silverman

Head Lecturer, Exercise Science Department, Wellington Institute of Technology, Petone, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

Phillip works as a teacher, clinician and researcher in the areas of exercise science and soft tissue therapy. Regarding research, his key area of interest is the assessment of complementary and alternative medicine. He holds a master’s degree in health science endorsed in rehabilitation, and teaches at two academic institutions. He has taught a wide variety of subjects including research methods, evidence-based practice, exercise assessment and prescription, and soft tissue techniques at these institutions and various conferences. Clinically, Phillip works with a wide variety of clients, with the key areas of focus being rehabilitation and sports.