“Integrative Medicine is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.”
~ Adopted by Consortium for Academic Health centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM)
Why practice integrative medicine?
Each patient is a unique individual whose health is affected by a unique combination of physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual and environmental factors. To help the patient become and stay as healthy as possible, a personalized approach that puts the patient at the center is required. That approach is integrative medicine, practicing which means combining comprehensive knowledge of each patient’s unique circumstances with scientific data and developing a personalized strategy that helps the patient heal and maintain good health.
What exactly is integrative medicine?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
While conventional medicine mostly focuses on the last part of this definition – the absence of disease, integrative medicine takes a comprehensive approach aimed at restoring and maintaining a person’s full health as defined by the World Health Organization. To achieve these goals, integrative medicine offers personalized care taking into account the complex interactions of biological, genetic, behavioral, psychosocial and environmental influences on patient’s wellbeing. Integrative medicine goes far beyond treating the symptoms and addresses all causes of the illness, even those that may at first appear remote.
In its comprehensive approach to achieving patient’s optimal health and wellbeing, integrative medicine uses all available methods, and that makes it different from other healing practices such as alternative and complimentary medicine. Alternative medicine seeks to replace conventional treatment options whereas complimentary medicine only supplements the conventional approach. Integrative medicine, on the other hand, does not shun conventional or alternative modalities and offers a full range of treatments and preventative measures to achieve the best possible results for the patient.
What are the key principles of Integrative Medicine?
- Forming a close partnership between the patient and the practitioner in the healing process
- Uncovering all influences affecting the patient’s wellbeing such as physical, emotional, and social factors including the community
- Healing body, mind and spirit to achieve optimal wellbeing
- Supporting and enhancing the body’s innate healing abilities emphasizing effective natural and less invasive interventions whenever possible
- Using all the latest scientific knowledge: Good medicine is rooted in good science
- Focusing on preventing disease and promoting a healthy lifestyle instead of merely treating the conditions that have already developed
- Offering a personalized approach to patient care striving to learn as much as possible about the patient’s unique set of circumstances to best address each person’s health goals and needs
- Teaching healthy behaviors and effective self-care skills that patients can use throughout their lives
- Achieving lifelong learning, self-exploration, and self-development, a commitment made by Integrative Medicine practitioners