The Biomedical Model vs. Systems Model


The Biomedical Model compared to a Systems Model of Well-being

Cartesian model

The conceptual foundation of modern scientific medicine is the so-called biomedical model, which is firmly grounded in Cartesian thought.

Origin of Disease

As we have discussed, the conceptual problem at the center of contemporary healthcare is the confusion between the origins of disease and the processes through which it manifests itself.

Disease Approach

Rather than asking why an illness occurs and trying to remove the conditions that led to it, medical researchers and practitioners often limit themselves to understanding the mechanisms through which the disease operates, so that they can then interfere with them.

Systems Approach

A systemic approach, by contrast, would broaden the scope from the levels of organs and cells to the whole person –to the patient's body and mind, as well as his or her interactions with a particular natural and social environment.

Such a broad, systemic perspective will enable health professionals to better understand the phenomenon of healing, which today is often considered outside the scientific framework.

Mechanistic View

Although every practicing physician knows that healing is an essential part of all medical care, the phenomenon is presently not part of scientific medicine. The reason is evident: it is a phenomenon that cannot be understood when health is reduced to mechanical functioning.

from "The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision" by Fritjof Capra, Pier Luigi

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