Accepted Paper:

Preventive approaches to health of French ayurveda therapists: An "complementary" inscription with biomedicine?  
Nicolas Commune (University of Rouen)

Paper short abstract:

Ayurvedic medicine, as it is practiced today in France, has complex relationships with biomedicine. This positioning on wellbeing and prevention comes in resonance with certain biomedical practices. How consider this relationship at the margins of biomedicine?

Paper long abstract:

In contemporary medical pluralism, the relationships between non-conventional medicines and biomedicine seem to be redefined, questioning a new angle of this relationship often studied in terms of biomedical dominance. However, the boundaries between medical systems, far from be airtight, are rather porous and permeable, as shown by the scientific and institutional recognition of increasingly sharp unconventional therapies, the opening of biomedicine to the concepts of "holism" or "well being", or the inclusion of some of these therapies in biomedical services.

Ayurvedic medicine, as it is practiced today in France, has complex relationships with biomedicine. If some plants from the Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia have been the subject of biomedical research and are now returning in the composition of certain drugs, its practitioners offer a more preventive approach, based on adopting a healthy lifestyle, diets, which they see as complementary to the biomedical approach. This positioning on wellbeing and prevention comes in resonance with certain biomedical practices, scientific vocabulary is recaptured by the therapists, which makes it all the more blurred the outlines of such prevention. How consider this relation between ayurveda and knowledge on preventing at the margins of biomedicine? Can we see a continuum between these approaches of prevention, common therapeutic spaces between conventional and unconventional practices? And especially how understand these relationships in terms of legitimacy, redefinitions of health, and re-appropriation and circulation of medical knowledge?

This paper aims to understand these new therapeutic spaces, particularly through the positioning of Ayurveda French therapists on prevention. It will start to focus on the reconstruction of knowledge about health by a traditional deterritorialized medicine, then identify and analyze these common therapeutic spaces, often presented by practitioners in terms of continuity and complementarity with biomedical approaches.

Panel W072
Complementary and alternative medicines and biomedicine in chronic diseases: what do we learn from the margins?