It has been very interesting to observe the different responses I get from people when I share with them that I specialize in integrative medicine. I have noticed that people usually belong to one of two groups. They are usually either enthusiastic to share their support of this type of medical practice and tell me how their grandmother’s gout was finally healed by a holistic doctor after seeing fifteen other specialists who had nothing new to offer or they admit that they “tried that alternative medicine stuff” before and “don’t believe in it”, instead preferring “real medicine”.
Unfortunately, the second group of folks seems to be a bit misinformed and have confused integrative and holistic medicine for some kind of snake oil magic. Lucky for them I am eager to share with them a few details what integrative medicine really is.
It goes a little something like this:
“Integrative medicine is far from snake oil magic. It is based in science and utilizes the best practices offered by a diverse array of treatment modalities from both ancient and modern medicine to achieve the highest patient outcomes possible. By utilizing evidence based treatment approaches from a variety of disciplines we are able to deliver cutting edge health care that is not possible when utilizing one approach alone.”
Integrative medicine practitioners consider the interconnectedness of the body systems and the natural, inherent ability of the body to heal itself when assessing a patient. The goal of treatment is to normalize function within the body in order to eliminate symptoms of disease. This approach usually involves a good nutritional foundation, hormonal balance and optimized detoxification capability. The alternative is to simply treat symptoms as they come along, forgetting that the symptom is just the warning that something is out of balance.
Integrative therapeutic plans can be complex utilizing combinations of treatments including drugs, herbal medicines, and nutritional supplements. The risks and benefits of all treatments are weighed just as they would be in any other medical practice. In addition, we also focus heavily on lifestyle modifications, moving away from dysfunctional patterns of thought and behavior that lead to disease and replacing them with ones that nurture one’s health and well being.
Integrative medicine is medicine at its best! That’s just my humble opinion! : )