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Longevity and Optimal Health: Working toward an Integrative Methodology

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Efforts to foster a research dialogue between traditions as seemingly divergent as Western biomedicine and Indo-Tibetan medical and self-regulatory practice require a carefully conceived set of methodological guidelines. To approach a useful methodology, some specific structural differences between traditions must be negotiated, for example the Indo-Tibetan emphasis on holism in medicine and ethics, which appears to run contrary to Western trends toward specialization in both clinical and research contexts. Certain pitfalls must be avoided as well, including the tendency to appropriate elements of either tradition in a reductionistic manner. However, research methods offering creative solutions to these problems are now emerging, successfully engendering quantitative insight without subsuming one tradition within the terms of the other. Only through continued, creative work exploring both the potentials and limitations of this dialogue can collaborative research insight be attained, and an appropriate and useful set of methodological principles be approached.
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Keywords: cross-cultural; methodology; neurophenomenology; science and religion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Cardiovascular Institute, Columbia Integrative Medicine Program, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA 2: Columbia Integrative Medicine Program, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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