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"I Could Feel It!": A Qualitative Study on How Users of Complementary Medicine Experience and Form Knowledge About Treatments

Jenny-Ann Brodin Danell
Journal of Holistic Nursing: Official Journal of the American Holistic Nurses' Association 2019 April 4, : 898010119837427

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to examine how users of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) experience various forms of treatments, form knowledge about them, and understand the boundaries between CAM and conventional health care.

METHOD: Semistructured qualitative interviews, with 10 CAM users in Sweden, analyzed with qualitative content analysis and quantitative network analysis, and subsequent network visualizations.

FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION: The main findings stressed the importance to CAM users of bodies and physical experiences, both in experiencing and forming knowledge about treatments. Physical experience was often contrasted with theoretical understanding. Another key finding was that the CAM users seemed to set up different standards for conventional and public health care and CAM. Although scientific explanations were considered as generally important for legitimacy, and conventional health care was expected to be evidence based, they were less important to personal use and in the use of CAM. In these cases, firsthand experience of positive effects were decisive.


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