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Ellen's Choice

Can Alternative/Complementary Medicine Make a Difference?


Elizabeth Harper
Biology Department
Monmouth University


This case encourages students to explore various aspects of alternative and complementary medicine that might be helpful in treating a woman who is suffering from scoliosis. The case was developed for use in a variety of settings, ranging from an introductory anatomy and physiology course to a general health class where there is an interest in alternative/complementary medicine.


  • To reinforce spinal anatomy.
  • To establish the significance of normal spinal curvature.
  • To explore complications due to abnormal curvature.
  • To establish the relationship between vertebrae, nerve, and organ function.
  • To reinforce the changing nature of bone due to age, physical and gravitational forces, and lifestyle.
  • To reinforce basic concepts of immunity and inflammation.
  • To introduce mind/body connection.
  • To encourage a deeper understanding of alternative/complementary medicine, both its strengths and weaknesses.
  • To encourage techniques in exploring and critically evaluating one's own choices in health care.


Spinal cord; spine; spinal curvature; scoliosis; inflammation; immunity; alternative medicine; complementary medicine; yoga

Topical Areas


Educational Level

Undergraduate lower division



Type / Methods




Subject Headings

Anatomy  |   Biology (General)  |   Medicine (General)  |  

Date Posted


Teaching Notes

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