Hello! Welcome to UNIV291 002, Complementary & Alternative Medicine: Health, Hype, or Hocus Pocus? In this fully online course, you will embark on a journey with a young lady as she explores the world of complementary and integrative health, seeking to maintain or improve her own well-being. As you follow her story, you will learn about differing approaches to health and the theory and practice of modalities outside mainstream western medicine. It is my hope that when you complete this course, you will be an “informed consumer” in the area of integrative health. This means that should you ever be interested, you would feel comfortable in finding and evaluating information about a particular method or technique, locating a practitioner in your area, and having a good idea about questions you may have about their practice.

A word about this website: For details about the mechanics, structure, and tools for the course, see the Nuts & Bolts page. To see the wonderful work that participants are contributing, go to the page entitled Our Creations. You will see excerpts from the posts aggregating to this site, and you may get to full posts from there, to view, learn from, and comment on. If you have a great idea for a post, then absolutely run with it! If you’d like to see some suggestions, they can be found on the Post Prompts page. This is also where you will find the required final post assignment and the first week options. The Story is exactly what it sounds like, and this is where new topics are introduced.

A word about learners and other participants: There are no prerequisites for this course, other than an open mind and an interest in exploring varied approaches to health and well-being. There is no textbook required for this course, but any resource that you find particularly helpful, be it a book, a podcast, a website, or other format will be shared with your fellow learners. Because the course is openly available on the web, participants may come from anywhere, and may be participating in various roles (learners, practitioners, teachers, etc). Those who are not VCU students registered for the course may participate at any level desired for as many or as few topics are of interest. At this time, I cannot award any kind of credit or certificate for participants who are not officially registered for the course through Virginia Commonwealth University.

A word about internetiquette: Collaboration and sharing of learning will occur openly on the web and may include Twitter, blog posts and comments, and other forms of sharing as determined by your choices. Open communication and collaboration is not only encouraged, but expected; that being said, courtesy and respect in these communications are also expected. Discussion and debate are welcome, but trolling, name-calling, and insulting others are not.