Integrative medicine: a holistic approach to health
What are the benefits of integrative medicine?
Integrative medicine is about teaching healthier habits and treating the whole person and not just specific symptoms. The benefits are often far-reaching and long-lasting for patients. Integrative medicine can be an excellent tool for sustaining good health, as well as for treating chronic issues and painful or debilitating diseases and injuries.
Key principles of integrative medicine
Unlike alternative medicine which refers to an approach to healing that is used in place of conventional medical therapies, integrative medicine uses all appropriate therapeutic approaches to achieve optimal health and healing. The following are some of the key principles of integrative medicine:
- A strong partnership between patient and physician
- Use of both conventional and alternative medicines and modalities
- A focus on non-invasive treatments when possible
- A clear emphasis on promoting health and illness prevention through ongoing healthy living
Over the last several decades, the popularity of combining conventional treatments with complementary therapies has grown tremendously. Patients and healthcare providers who were once skeptical of alternative treatments have become believers in the benefits of an integrative approach.
Increasingly, healthcare professionals who specialize in modern medicine are incorporating integrative medicine to promote health and wellness. By combining these approaches with conventional therapies, integrative practitioners can partner with patients and their primary healthcare providers to help relieve pain, reduce stress and support overall well-being.
And, many healthcare providers themselves use integrative approaches for their own personal healthcare because of the distinct health and wellness benefits.
“All medicine is integrative,” says Lucy P. Gade, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Center for Wellness and Integrative Medicine, Northwell Health. “By shifting from being disease-oriented to health-oriented, we can identify risks and minimize them as part of a whole person approach to healthcare. This can enable individuals to live healthier and happier lives.”
Common integrative health approaches used in integrative medicine
- Deep breathing
- Tai chi or qi gong
- Functional nutrition
- Guided imagery
Want to learn more about integrative medicine? At Katz Institute for Women’s Health, we’re here to answer your questions. Call the Katz Institute for Women’s Health Resource Center at 855-850-5494 to speak to a women’s health specialist.