What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances, it uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health. Treatments may include such modalities as acupuncture, yoga, or massage. This medical practice also focuses on the nutritional and exercise habits of the patient to curb factors related to obesity and diabetes. Integrative medicine physicians believe poor lifestyle choices are the root cause of many modern chronic diseases.
Integrative medicine strategies focus on prevention and foster the development of healthy behaviors and skills for effective self-care that patients can use throughout their lives.
The defining principles of integrative medicine are:
- The patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
- All factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration, including body, mind, spirit and community.
- Providers use all healing sciences to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
- Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive are used whenever possible.
- Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry driven and open to new paradigms.
- Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.
- The care is personalized to best address the individual’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances. Practitioners of integrative medicine exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.