Purpose: Models of health influence providers' practice and delivery of health care. This study surveyed a random sample of providers to determine if health care providers from mainstream medicine (MM), integrative medicine (IM), and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) hold mutually exclusive models of health or combine notions from models thought to be contradictory.
Methods: A survey was created through qualitative research, piloted, and mailed to a wide variety of MM, IM, and CAM health care professionals.
Results: All providers combined various models and definitions of health. Most utilized the biomedical approach to some extent. Balance (holistic model) and functioning in daily life were essential to most respondents' models of health, disease, and healing. Close communication between MM and CAM systems was preferred over complete separation or a single system.
Conclusions: Many providers of all types combine widely disparate components in their definitions of health, providing keys for improving communication.