What is Integrative Medicine

Integrative Medicine, or IM as it is often referred to, is a combination of conventional medicine, and complementary treatments. The goal for Integrative Medicine is to treat the individual as a whole and not just a particular health problem.

The holistic approach encouraged by Integrative Medicine means that treatment encompasses behavioral, environmental, and social aspects of the individual being treated, in addition to treating their underlying health issues from a traditional approach. People often request more complementary treatments as part of their treatment plan. However, it is essential to note that complementary approaches are not seen as a replacement for prescribed conventional medical treatments, but as additional tools...

People are encouraged to discuss their current therapies with their doctor, who should come up with the best course of treatment. This article will discuss how Integrative Medicine works and its benefits.


What Is Integrative Medicine?

Think of Integrative Medicine as being a whole-person treatment plan with the goal of treating the mind, body, and spirit of the individual. It often includes many complementary therapies in addition to traditional or conventional medicine.

IM practitioners often suggest a spectrum of treatments that are geared towards improving a person’s wellbeing. For instance, the doctor or practitioner may suggest techniques to activate the parasympathetic nervous system such as yoga for anxiety. Complementary therapies can be grouped together into areas, such as nutrition, physical activity, and mind-body recommendations.


8 Tenets of Integrative Medicine

1. Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process

2. All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration including mind, spirit, and community as well as body.

3. Appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods facilitates the body's innate healing response.

4. Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive should be used whenever possible.

5. Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.

6. Good medicine is based on good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.

7. Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.

8. Practitioners of integrative medicine should exemplify its principles and commit their lives to self-exploration and self-development.


Nutritional Approach To Treatment

Generally, nutritional therapies will include a review of your nutritional intake to ensure you are taking in food and liquids that will optimize your health. In addition, various products like vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements may be added as needed. However, integrative practitioners tend to prefer getting as much nutrition from your food as possible first and supplementing only when necessary.. Integrative Medicine practitioners may also ask that patients take a regular dose of probiotics to optimize digestion and immune function. Supplements can take many forms, i.e., liquids, capsules, and powered. Again, a specific nutritional plan will be developed first to optimize health and healing for your body and mind.

It is strongly advised that people always speak with their doctor before taking any supplements or treatments. It is essential to ensure that a medical professional knows what you are taking so that it does not conflict with existing medication.


Mind-BodyApproach to Integrative Medicine

Many forms of mind-body therapy are mainly meant to help activate your parasympathetic nervous system, settle the mind and consequently reduce stress. This will decrease pain sensations, increase your immune function and increase the release of endorphins to help with mental acuity and mood. The most commonly prescribed therapies include yoga, breathing techniques, and meditation.

Not surprisingly, there is a great deal of overlap between mind and body practices. Yoga is great to keep your body limber but also is a type of moving meditation to activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Qi Gong or Tai Chi are classic moving meditation practices but also keep your joints and muscles moving. Any of these practices will help create a harmonious mind and body relationship.

Acupuncture may also be recommended. It is a form of ancient Chinese medicine characterized by its use of fine needles inserted into the skin at specific acupressure points. It is found to be highly beneficial for relaxing the body and alleviating various types of pain.


The Physical Approach

Generally, there are many physical approaches that an Integrative Medicine practitioner may recommend. The goal is to have some type of muscle manipulation with ROM, realignment, and biomechanical balance. This can occur in physical therapy, exercise training, assisted stretching, osteopathic manipulation, chiropractic manipulation, etc. Many physical approaches can be carried out as a home program as well.


How Popular Is Integrative Medicine?

The popularity of integrative medicine is a result of its many advantages. It offers the most comprehensive approach to addressing various health issues, allowing patients to make an informed decision about the best treatment for their specific needs. By focusing on prevention, patients can avoid unnecessary and expensive medical procedures and enjoy a better quality of life. This is a key benefit of integrative medicine, which has become increasingly popular in recent years.

The benefits of integrative medicine are plentiful. It is becoming increasingly popular amongst patients who want to avoid the risks of prescription drugs and are willing to try alternative treatments.

The approach is also used to supplement conventional treatments. For example, a person suffering from diabetes could benefit from acupuncture. Another benefit of integrative medicine is that it promotes health. If the symptoms are severe, an individual can opt for a combination of conventional and complementary approaches.


Why Is Integrative Medicine So Popular?

When complementary therapies are introduced as part of a person's treatment plan, the goal is mainly to help alleviate a couple of the adverse effects associated with traditional treatments. For instance, the adverse effects brought on by the consumption of prescription medication.

The goal of this alternative form of pain management is to decrease the reliance on opioids. This approach relies on a holistic approach to managing pain. Unlike traditional Western medicine, integrative medicine integrates lifestyle and social factors into the management of pain. It aims to reduce the reliance on prescription opioids. Ultimately, it seeks to provide the most effective and affordable treatment for each individual. In order to achieve this goal, integrative medicine relies on evidence-based medicines and lifestyle changes to help patients manage their pain.

Integrative Medicine benefits include helping people deal with difficult illnesses and help reduce their stress and pain levels. There are many instances where Integrative Medicine has been shown to improve health outcomes. Many studies are underway, mainly independently verifying claims of people with chronic pain being treated and the IM making it easier for them to manage the pain without relying on prescription medication.


Conclusion

Many people use the terms Integrative Medicine and alternative medicine interchangeably, which is technically incorrect. Alternative medicine is seen as an alternative to conventional medicine. So, it is one or the other in this case. If a practitioner is using nonconventional treatment integrated with conventional medicine, it is referred to as Integrative Medicine. Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically, using science-based medicine in both realms to effectively treat the individual person, not the disease process.