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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2, Issue 4, Pages 453-458
Lecture Series

Evidence-based Research in Complementary and Alternative Medicine I: History

1Division of Oral Biology and Medicine, UCLA School of Dentistry, CHS 63-090, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1668, USA
2West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
3Psychoneuroimmunology Group, Inc., Los Angeles, California, USA
4Dental Group of Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, USA

Received 30 September 2004; Accepted 3 July 2005

Copyright © 2005 Francesco Chiappelli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Contemporary Western medicine has witnessed a fragmentation of our conceptualization of the medical endeavor into ‘traditional medicine’ and ‘non-traditional medicine’. The former is meant to refer to the Western medical tradition, the latter encompasses both ‘complementary’ and ‘alternative’ medical practices. Complementary medicine complements conventional medical treatments, and alternative modes of medical interventions are meant to replace traditional Western medicine. Evidence-based research must be directed at establishing the best available evidence in complementary and alternative medicine. This paper is the first of a set of four ‘lectures’ that reviews the process of evidence-based research, and discusses its implications and applications for the early decades of the 21st century. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the series by examining some of the historical and philosophical foundations of this research endeavor.