Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative.
The principles of integrative medicine:
- A partnership between patient and practitioner in the healing process
- Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
- Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including mind, spirit and community as well as body
- A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically
- Recognition that good medicine should be based in good science, be inquiry driven, and be open to new paradigms
- Use of natural, effective, less-invasive interventions whenever possible
- Use of the broader concepts of promotion of health and the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease
- Training of practitioners to be models of health and healing, committed to the process of self-exploration and self-development
What is Integrative Medicine to me? The future of medicine, currently in the midst of a big transition. It has become clear that allopathic medicine doesn't solve everything. That lifestyle matters more than ever. That the health of the individual, the community, and the planet are aligned. That current patterns are unsustainable. And that both "health" and "care" are missing from healthcare. Integrative Medicine offers a foundation for solving these problems and more, on an individual and a global level.
On a practical level, this means having medical practitioners that have time to spend with you, truly listen to your concerns, and treat your relationship as a partnership for your health. It means your practitioner has a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of your lifestyle, to give you the best guidance possible. It means using natural options as appropriate. It means a comfort in referring to a vast array of other professionals, for psychology, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, massage therapy, naturopathy and more. It means an end to "turf battles" in medicine - there are plenty of patients to go around! It's returning healing to medicine. I think that medical providers themselves may actually need this more than anyone. How ironic that often those caring for others are the least likely to "be well".
If you're a patient looking for an Integrative professional, the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine has a directory. If you're a practitioner yourself, learn more about fellowship training. Also if you are a professional, these are the best CME conferences out there! Great speakers and topics, an incredible community, and I promise the best conference food you've ever had. The Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine as well as the Nutrition and Health Conference by the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine are both amazing options.