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Research Issues in Complementary Therapies and Holistic Care

Complementary therapies in health care are therapeutic modalities or activities that complement and augment orthodox approaches. Holistic nursing and midwifery practice is a comprehensive way of being, knowing and doing in the delivery of nursing and midwifery care, which may include the use of complementary therapies. Although complementary therapies and holistic nursing and midwifery practice are often seen as being related, they are not the same and one does not necessarily guarantee the presence and effects of the other. Nurses and midwives may use a kitbag of strategies and therapies and still work in reductionist, non-human-centered ways. In other words, they can choose to use complementary therapies in clinical and fragmented ways, devoid of interpersonal connection. This chapter provides a comprehensive discussion of the problems involved in researching complex areas of care. It focuses on the point that complementary therapies and holistic nursing are not necessarily the same and that different research approaches may be needed. The chapter provides a friendly introduction to research for those in the clinical area who may be interested in evaluating these aspects of nursing practice.

Contents include

  • nursing and midwifery research and complementary therapies
  • research, wholeness and complexity
  • evidence based practice
  • types of nursing and midwifery research
  • quantitative and qualitative research
  • research methods.
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Author / Editor Biographies

RN, RM, MEd, PhD, FRCNA and FCN (NSW).
Beverley Taylor began nursing in 1968 in Tasmania and has been employed full time in the profession ever since, as a clinician, teacher and researcher. Her main interests are in all spheres of holistic nursing and she is the editor of the Australian Journal of Holistic Nursing.

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