Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Individually Designed Major in Global Health

Thesis Type

College of Arts and Science Honors, Honors College

First Advisor

Jeanne Shea


Traditional Medicine, Medical Integration, Diabetes Mellitus, Dehradun, Practitioner Perceptions


This study is based on a research of diabetic treatment and medical integration in Uttarakhand, North India. It explores ayurvedic, allopathic, and integrated diagnoses and treatment of diabetes with a focus on adult-onset (Type II) diabetes. Not only is India ranked second in the world in diabetes prevalence, but it is also the host of the two prevailing systems of medicine described in this study: Ayurveda and Allopathy. Considering the shortcomings of modern medicine to prevent and treat chronic illness, there has been much discourse about the value of integrating Ayurveda and Allopathy. This study seeks to answer how ayurvedic and allopathic physicians compare in their philosophies underlying the treatment of Type II diabetes, their perceptions of Ayurveda and Allopathy, and in their views of their own integrative practices as well as in the value and existence of integration. The research for this study was done in the spring of 2014. The data are derived from semi-structured interviews with eleven physicians in the cities of Dehradun, Rishikesh, and Palampur. The interpretivist and critical medical anthropology theoretical approaches serve as a guide to the methodology of this study.

Findings suggest that allopathic and ayurvedic physicians have many differences in their descriptions, classifications, and treatments of Type II diabetes, as well as a few similarities. The ayurvedic and allopathic physicians of this study are well matched in their knowledge of the strengths and benefits of the other pathy. The knowledge that physicians have about the other system either prompts or discourages their ability and desire to integrate. Ayurvedic and allopathic physicians share both positive and negative views about integration. Although not all interviewed physicians support integration, many of them list particular circumstances in which it should occur. Scholarly implications of this study include a need for a closer analysis and quantification of the ways that unstructured integration is occurring. In light of the potentially harmful effects of unstructured integration and the valuable outcomes of structured integration, practical implications include a need for more dually trained physicians.


- The full contents of this thesis are available only in the Honors College office.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.