what is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person- mind, body and spirit. It delves deep into the patient’s life, and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.

Defining Elements

  • Preventive
  • Holistic
  • Collaborative
  • Conventional and Complementary
  • Rational
  • Relationship-based

How did it begin?

The integrative medicine model stems from a growing dissatisfaction with the current medical system. From an over reliance on pharmaceuticals, invasive technology, and a hurried and fragmented approach to health care, patients and health practitioners have been actively seeking a better model.

How does it differ?

Preventive
Integrative medicine is a preventive model. Its basic intent is to protect and enhance the body’s innate capacity for healing by minimizing the conditions for disease to develop. This approach involves assessing and utilizing the core components of lifestyle- nutrition, exercise, education, and mind/body practices, in order to create optimal health.

Holistic
Integrative medicine takes a total care approach; it encompasses the whole person, and takes into account all factors such as environment and lifestyle, relationships, and knowledge. This view recognizes the need for balance in all aspects of life. Healing requires an expanded vision that addresses primary stressors and root causes in order to return the body to a state of health.

Collaborative
Collaboration is an important component to integrative medicine. A collaborative model creates an atmosphere of open communication between different practitioners and health care providers in order to provide the best patient care.

Conventional and Complementary
Integrative medicine is a blend of the best practices from conventional medicine and complementary approaches, resulting in a complete and well-rounded health care model.

Rational
Safety is paramount to patient care. Integrative medicine applies a rational framework at all times, offering treatment plans based on solid evidence of safety and efficacy from both conventional and complementary approaches. The most appropriate care options are presented to the patient. The goal is to employ natural and less invasive therapies whenever possible, while ensuring that necessary conventional treatments are not excluded.

Relationship-based
The integrative medicine model seeks to build a relationship with the patient that is respectful and empowering. It views the patient as the expert in their own health journey. This is an approach that honors the patient’s needs, is non- judgmental, and is based on empathy and trust.

Why is it needed?

Medicine is at a crossroads, and it’s clear that the current system is not meeting the needs of a discerning public. Despite all the money and resources being spent in the today’s healthcare system, preventable diseases are ever more prevalent, and are alarmingly on the rise. Patients today want to be more involved in their health care; they are looking to supplement conventional medicine with well-researched holistic and less toxic therapies.