Question

Integrative Medicine

What is integrative medicine?

A Answers (15)

  • A Andrew Weil, Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answered
    Dr. Andrew Weil - integrated medicine definition

    Integrated medicine is commonly defined as the combination of conventional and alternative medicine, but Dr. Weil says it is so much more. In this video, Dr. Weil explains how it is the medicine of the future.


  • A Tasneem Bhatia, MD, Pediatrics, answered

    Integrative medicine is quickly becoming a recognized specialty in medicine. Integrative medicine practitioners often have a more holistic approach to health, taking into account a patient's mental, physical and emotional landscape. Integrative medicine also combines treatment modalities and recommendations from many systems of medicine. For example, treatment for back pain may involve a prescription for anti-inflammatories in addition to acupuncture.

     

  • A Jill Baron, MD, Family Medicine, answered

    I define Integrative Medicine as combining conventional western medicine as is taught in today’s medical schools, with holistic, “alternative,” and mind-body therapies that include nutrition, stress management, energy medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, and many other modalities to optimize the health and well-being of the patient. 

  • Integrative medicine is equivalent to holistic medicine.  Basically, it is looking at all of the non-traditional treatment approaches.  That would include homeopathy, accupuncture, aromatherapy, etc.  It does not necessary preclude the use of traditional medical approaches.
  • A Sarah LoBisco, Integrative Medicine, answered

    Integrative Medicine is a combination of conventional medical practices with holistic and complementary medical systems. Instead of being "an alternative" treatment, integrative medicine incorporates the cutting edge technology of Western Medicine with the ancient wisdom of the Eastern Systems.

    An example of applying integrative medicine into practice would be the incorporation of diet, lifestyle, therapeutic supplements, and herbs along with properly prescribed medicine or conventional therapies.  Naturopathic Physicians are one type of integrative health care provider who are specifically trained in Integrative Medicine. They are one of the few medical specialists trained in nutritional and herbal drug interactions.

    Ideally, Integrative Medicine provides a holistic viewpoint of the patient and focuses therapy on all levels of wellness, physical, emotional, and spiritual. This is best accomplished through the collaboration of all different specialists and practitioners working together for the patient.

  • APenn Medicine answered

    Integrative medicine, sometimes referred to as complementary medicine or therapy, is a term used to describe services that support or supplement traditional treatments for conditions or illnesses. Integrative medicine is not intended to take the place of medical therapy, but may help support overall wellness. Some integrative medicine examples include Reiki, acupuncture, nutrition, yoga, exercise, meditation and massage. 

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  • A Robin Miller, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Integrative medicine is a medical practice that helps to create the proper environment, which will enable the amazing healing ability of our bodies to thrive.  By integrating the care of the whole patient, mind, body and spirit, integrative medicine can optimize health and healing.  In order to do that, practitioners often combine conventional medical practices, such as medication and surgery, with scientifically based alternative therapies, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage and nutrition therapy (to name a few).
    As a part of this practice, the patient-doctor relationship is key. It is a partnership that honors the uniqueness of the individual. Some patients may want conventional therapy alone or they may want alternative therapy alone. Still others may want a combination of the two. The practice of integrative medicine can work with individual desires. The goal is to promote health and wellness and, in doing so, prevent illness.
  • A Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Dr. Oz - Integrative Medicine

    Many health care providers embrace the concept of integrative medicine. In this video, Dr. Oz explains what it integrative medicine is, and why more conventional doctors should be open to it.


  • A Jeffrey A. Morrison, MD, Family Medicine, answered
    Integrative Medicine seeks, through a partnership of patient and practitioner, to treat the whole person (body, mind, spirit and environment), to assist the innate healing properties of each patient, and to promote health and wellness as well as the treatment and prevention of disease.
  • A Raphael d' Angelo, Integrative Medicine, answered

    The simple, straightforward answer: integrative medicine focuses on cause rather than symptoms; and once cause is known, recommendations and treatment encompass the best of Western and Eastern medicine. 

    How I see it: We have health concerns. Rather than matching every concern with procedures and medications, we want to know what the problems really are that affect us and what can we do for ourselves as the first step to fix them. There is a wealth of good information that can be drawn from. Most of my patients want a natural approach as long as it is safe and has a reasonable chance to make a difference. The best integrative medicine couples doctor and patient as a team.

  • A Marina Johnson, Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism, answered
    Integrative medicine is a more inclusive approach to managing chronic illness. Several exemplary medical schools like UCLA, Harvard, Stanford and UC San Francisco (UCSF) have established centers for integrative medicine. There are currently 40 integrative medicine fellowship programs at medical schools in the United States. UCSF was the first integrative medicine center established in 1996 and defines integrative medicine in the following way:

    “Integrative medicine is a new term that emphasizes the combination of both conventional and alternative approaches to address the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of health and illness. It emphasizes respect for the human capacity for healing, the importance of the relationship between the physician and the patient, a collaborative approach to patient care among practitioners, and the practice of conventional, complementary and alternative health care that is evidence- based.”

    All of our body organs and systems talk to each other and dysfunction in one system can result in disease in other parts of the body. Recognizing and treating the underlying cause of symptoms enables the physician to engage the body’s capacity for self-healing.
  • A Susan Blum, MD, MPH, Preventive Medicine, answered

    Integrative medicine is a very broad term that includes any medical approach that combines a traditional or mainstream form of medical practice, like internal or family medicine, with another more holistic or lifestyle approach to health care, like nutrition or acupuncture. We are all unique in our approach. A physician can integrate functional medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, herbs, and/or mind-body medicine, and even though we each specialize in something different, we are all practicing Integrative Medicine. In my practice, I have integrated functional medicine, mind-body medicine with my Preventive Medicine training to create a completely unique Integrative Practice based on my training, skills and interest. 

    Most integrative medicine practices have the following things in common:     

    • A whole system view: instead of dividing the body into “specialty” parts, we view everything as connected, and look to find and treat the underlying causes for the symptoms.
    • A whole person view:  instead of only looking at the physical, we evaluate and treat psycho-spiritual-emotional factors that might be contributing to health issues. This includes assessing and understanding stress and how it affects health.
    • A food as medicine view:  instead of ignoring the role of food in illness, we put food first and use it as part of our treatment programs.
  • A James Dillard, MD, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, answered

    Integrative Medicine means different things to different people, depending on who is defining it. For many docs using the term, it is just the blending of the best of conventional and alternative medicine based on the research evidence. Some people emphasize the doctor-patient relationship, but that should always simply be part of good medical practice.

    Some docs are using the Integrative Medicine label for their own branding and self-promotion. Some are even trying to coopt the term in order to own it in one way or another.

    For the most part, Integrative Medicine does not exist. The MDs are doing complementary medicine. They are complementing their main-stream medical approaches with a few alternative therapies. They aren't really trained in these other therapies, and they will always neglect one or more of the alternative therapies, based upon their prejudices.

    The patients are going to the acupuncturist, chiropractor and herbalist, but those practitioners are not talking with the MD. And the MD is certainly not talking with them. The supplements and vitamins are being prescribed by the home shopping channel or the guy in the health food store. The MD and the other practitioners rarely know what's going on.

    So for the vast majority of instances, Integrative Medicine does not exist. It's a nice idea, but it's not happening, and it's not going to happen. The best we can do is to get our patients to keep records of the various things they are doing for their health, so that we can at least look it over for safety issues.

    Patients will always try some new pill or run off to Aunt Millie's homeopath. That's OK -- they have that right. But it's really hard to keep track of all this, even for the patient.

    Five percent of Medicare enrollees cost Medicare 43% of its payout. This 5% of Medicare patients has on average 5 major medical problems, and they have on average 14 doctors in their medical records. Do you really think that all 14 of these doctors are integrating or coordinating their care? Even a few of them?

    There are only 3 or 4 of us in the U.S. who have the full cross-training to be able to actually do the integration of alternative therapies with conventional medicine for patients in our offices. But even for us, it's a challenge. So for the most part, Integrative Medicine doesn't really exist.

    Good health to you -

    James

  • A Peter Bongiorno, ND, Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Let's talk about the future demise of the definition of integrative medicine. My hope is there will be no 'integrative medicine.' Let me explain: right now, we are still teasing out natural medicine versus 'alternative.' Many of us still split medicine into two camps of 'conventional' and 'alternative'. When we combine these medicines, we consider them as 'integrative' or 'complementary.' My sincere hope is as we evolve and educate, and research more about the benefits of both types of medicine, we will be able to think in both a conventional model that includes heroic care (which can involve drugs and surgery when needed) as well as the more holistic, elegant and gentle model of natural care. When enough of us gain this ability to think in both terms simultaneously, the way some people can speak two languages fluently, the term 'integrative' may cease to exist, and we will eventually call it 'medicine.' At that point, I think the patient will be in the best position of all.
  • A David L. Katz, MD,MPH, Integrative Medicine, answered
    The blending of conventional and ‘complementary’ medical practices into an expanded array of options for patients. There are many delivery models.  My own involves working directly with naturopathic physicians, seeing patients jointly, and conferring about the treatment plan in real time.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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