Integrative Medicine, now itself officially integrated into the name of its home at the NIH, the newly dubbed National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, is a rhetorical lightning rod under any of its potential aliases. All related terms- alternative medicine, holistic medicine, complementary medicine, and so on- are charged and evocative. Inevitably, the sparks and charges emanating from the poles do much to generate heat, and almost nothing to shine light on the promise of common ground in the middle.
At one pole are practitioners of “alternative” medicine inclined to blame modern medicine for every modern ill, and toss the whole enterprise under the proverbial bus. They do so at the public’s peril, forgetting and obscuring the stunning benefits of immunization, antibiotics, revascularization, and refinements in chemotherapy./.../