Complementary and Alternative Medicine – Integration, Blends, and Hybrids

Published: Oct 15, 2022 | Revised: Mar 6, 2023
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Complementary and Alternative Medicine - Integration, Blends, and Hybrids

In the CAM sector (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) there’s a lot of integration going on nowadays. That is, therapists and teachers take (or borrow) some techniques or methods from a specific treatment modality, and use those in other ones.

More or less the same counts for hybridization. It means that specific concepts, methods, and techniques from massage, bodywork, or other healing modalities are taken up and blended with concepts, methods, and techniques from other disciplines in order to create a “new” modality.

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One of the questions that arise here is if it’s “wise and responsible” to combine healing systems that have different conceptional backgrounds. I mean, does integration or hybridization perhaps impede or even counteract healing?

Of course, one could state that by “mixing responsibly” one takes the “best of both worlds” to tackle certain health issues or pathologies. Nevertheless, a matter of concern is the fact that non-specialists start to use certain techniques from other treatment modalities without having a proper, in-depth training or education in those modalities.

So, to give a practical example: you can be an excellent, proficient and well-qualified Thai Massage therapist, but what are the results of using Osteopathic techniques if you don’t have a decent Osteopathy training and education? Are you able to use them in a proper way? Do you understand enough of Osteopathy to apply Osteopathic techniques into Thai Massage?

At any rate, most treatment modalities evolved over hundreds or perhaps even thousands of years. No doubt that what we use today are also integrations, blends, and hybrids that came about during a very long period of trial and error, experience, gradual change, and refinement.

Certainly there’s no use in trying to stop today’s integrations and hybridizations. It’s happening, it’s continuing, it’s there. Nevertheless, in our time of hyper-commercialization and increasingly rapid changes, we should try to be sensible and critical to avoid nonsensical or even potentially dangerous developments.

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