What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine evaluates the patient as a whole. It does not view the patient as a chronic disease, an illness, a list of medications, or a recent hospitalization–but rather as a complex being made up of physical, mental/emotional, and spiritual parts all interdependent and woven together. All of these elements are respectfully addressed in developing strategies to treat illness and more aggressively prevent disease.

It is critical then in treating the whole patient that we understand all of the patient and are open to all modalities deemed safe and effective to treat the patient. Integrative physicians use and apply many schools of therapies to help heal patients, including what is considered to be alternative or complementary . These services might include but are not limited to therapies such as acupuncture, massage, energy work, behavioral therapy, chiropractic care, naturopathy and homeopathy to name just a few.

It is a true blending of traditional medicine with less conventional therapies as mentioned. Typically, these complementary therapies are more natural and less invasive then those in a traditional practice. This does not mean that traditional interventions are rejected, or that all alternative medicine is embraced. The integrative physician seeks to embrace all schools of healing that are evidence based.

There is a willingness amongst integrative physicians to develop strong and respectful relationships with patients. Most integrative physicians recognize that good patient care cannot be done in 10 minutes. A true integrative physician will spend time interviewing and getting to know their patient. This partnership will become the base to begin the healing process. The patient and his or her needs become the center of care. Each patient requires an individualized treatment plan. There is no one defined plan for all. Integrative medicine acknowledges the tremendous differences we all have.