Treating the Whole Person
Integrative Medicine is a holistic approach to medicine that combines the traditional practices of medicine with non-conventional practices. Based on a growing body of evidence confirming a very real mind-body connection, doctors and patients alike are embracing integrative medicine and its approach to treating the whole person, not just the disease.
Integrative medicine incorporates conventional medical treatment options with complementary approaches that take into account a patient’s physical symptoms as well as psychological, social and spiritual aspects of their health and illness. Some examples of an integrative approach to treatment include:
- Relieving symptoms of chronic pain with approaches such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, acupuncture and self-hypnosis.
- Reducing symptoms of pain and fatigue during cancer treatment with massage therapy and yoga.
- Supplementing smoking cessation programs with acupuncture and support groups.
Other applications for integrative medicine include:
- Sleep aid
- Weight loss
- Stress reduction
- Relief from symptoms of Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis
- Help to manage high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes
- Reduce symptoms of menstrual cramps and menopause such as mood swings and night sweats
- Manage pain symptoms of arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, joint pain, lymphedema and headache
Types of Complementary Medicine
The following types of complementary medicine are used for a variety of conditions and symptoms. Consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any of these treatments.
- Dietary Supplements
- Herbal Medicine
Mind and Body Practices
- Tai Chi
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Chiropractic Medicine
Keep Your Physician Informed
Always discuss complementary treatment options with your doctor first in order to minimize any possible health risks - these treatments might have side effects or interact with other medicines. Even thought the complementary treatments are administered by licensed and trained practitioners, they should always be informed about your condition and medical history by your doctor.
If you're exploring integrative medicine treatments, you should also:
- Find out what the research says about the treatment
- Choose licensed and trained complementary practitioners carefully
- Tell all of your doctors and practitioners which complementary/alternative and standard treatments you use