Recently we announced the launch of the Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine program at Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH; @MUIHealth, #MUIH, #ExploreMUIH). This has me thinking more than usual about the potential of complementary and integrative health (CIH) practices to impact allopathic approaches to health care. A couple of different words come to mind, including change, shift, disruption, and revolution. But is this last word too strong?
This has led me to reread Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Does the rise and spread CIH practices align with the common themes and structures of scientific revolutions as described by Kuhn in 1962? I’ve only just begun, but the early chapters do not disappoint. Already they point to a framework for the similarities between scientific revolutions and the InnovEd Doc – CIH References 021818. Both fields are in a period of coming to know one another. This includes understanding the unique perspectives, way of being, and benefits of each, as well as discerning how the two fields can balance one another
1. Inherent in the concept of scientific revolutions is the element of time needed for reflection, development, acceptance, and maturation of the field. Both CIH and allopathic fields can claim various times during history when they were the dominant and emergent schools of thought.
- There have always been periods when “cannons of [current] scientific thought were very different from those” of the future.
- Different scientific paradigms are “universally recognized scientific achievements that for a time provide model problems and solutions to a community of practitioners.”
- The assimilation of new theories “requires the reconstruction of prior theory and the re-evaluation of prior fact, an intrinsically revolutionary process that is seldom completed by a single man and never overnight.”
2. Acknowledgement, understanding, respect, and acceptance of new theories and practices begins when those of the mainstream no longer work. This is evident in the use of CIH in conjunction with allopathic care, initiated by both practitioners and consumer demand.
- The current norm “repeatedly goes astray.” When “the profession can no longer evade anomalies that subvert the existing tradition of scientific practice – then begin the extraordinary investigations that lead the profession at last to a new set of commitments, a new basis of the practice of science. The extraordinary episodes in which that shift of professional commitments occurs are the ones known as scientific revolutions. They are the tradition-shattering complements to the tradition-bound activity of” the norm.
- The invention and rise of new theories and practice “regularly, and appropriately, evokes the same response from some of the specialists on whose area of special competence they impinge.” Resistance to working together continues to be seen among some CIH and allopathic practitioners.
3. The growing engagement of the complementary and integrative health fields with those of contemporary western systems fit the defining characteristics of scientific revolutions. The revolution caused by this engagement …
- “Necessitates the community’s rejection of one time-honored scientific theory in favor of another incompatible with it.” In this case however, the CIH and allopathic fields have the potential to work with one another rather than for one to replace the other … as emphasized by the nomenclature of the field – complementary and integrative health.
- “Produces a consequent shift in the problems available for scientific scrutiny and in the standards by which the profession determined what should count as an admissible problem or as a legitimate problem-solution.” This is especially true when considering the need for a new and different research methodology for CIH fields.
- “Transform the scientific imagination in ways that we shall ultimately need to describe as a transformation of the world within which scientific work was done.” What will the future of health care look like if these two fields can learn to work with one another?
So now I ask you … What revolutions are in your future?