Integrative medicine (IM) is a medical philosophy focused on treating the whole person, not just diseases and health problems. It views doctors and patients as partners, and it combines conventional and alternative therapies. The alternative therapies used are typically those that have been studied extensively and proven to be useful.
What Does Integrative Medicine Involve?
The Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine lists seven principles of integrative medicine:
The patient and doctor are partners
Integrative medicine considers everything that can influence a patient’s health, including mind, community, and spirit, as well as body
Both conventional and alternative therapies should be considered as viable treatments
Integrative medicine does not accept or reject therapies uncritically regardless of their origins
Therapies should be as minimally invasive as possible
Sound medicine is based on sound science and is, therefore, open to new ideas
Practitioners of integrative medicine should follow its principles in their own lives and be committed to self-knowledge and self-development
What Does That All Mean?
“Considering the whole person” means examining such aspects of their lives as occupation or lifestyle. Integrative medicine is a holistic discipline that deals with all aspects of a patient’s life. Stress reduction is often a key component, for emotional upsets can often exacerbate physical problems. Some alternative therapies, like acupuncture, have also demonstrated an effectiveness at relieving pain.
Integrative medicine seeks to employ the most effective therapies from both conventional and alternative medicines. Alternative therapies often used by practitioners include acupuncture, biofeedback, meditation and yoga. These treatments have existed for decades, if not centuries, and there are many studies that have demonstrated their effectiveness.
How Did Integrative Medicine Develop?
Integrative medicine developed in the wake of a 1993 study that showed over a third of Americans used at least one alternative therapy. That study eventually led to the creation of integrative medical centers that offered both conventional and alternative treatments.
Researchers also learned that a person’s emotional state can affect the workings of their immune system. Stress can have a deleterious impact on a person’s health. Practitioners of integrative medicine will, therefore, incorporate stress reduction techniques as part of their treatments.
How Does the Partnership Between Doctor and Patient Work?
At least hypothetically, integrative medicine will give the doctor more time to work with their patients. In too many conventional practices, doctors have such limited time to work with their patients that they can feel overwhelmed and rushed. The patient, for their part, feels like a number.
The partnership also means that the doctor learns more about the patient’s life. The doctor can learn about any stresses the patient is facing, like a divorce. The doctor can then advise the patient on stress reduction techniques and check the patient for any stress-related conditions. If the doctor knows that the divorced person comes from a family with a history of migraines or heart disease, he will know to check for signs of those conditions.
Learn More Today
To learn more about integrative medicine and how it can benefit you, come in for a consultation at Longevity, located in Oklahoma City. We can work with you to evaluate your unique situation and then determine a plan of action that is right for you.