When it comes to living a long healthy life, there are many things we do. This often looks like eating better, trying to exercise, and being conscious of the medications we put into our bodies. If you are seeing a traditional medical practitioner, it’s pretty common for you to be prescribed medications to help alleviate symptoms.
There are a growing number of people seeing holistic and alternative practitioners that use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) tools like supplements, acupuncture, yoga, and more to treat not just the symptoms causing the physical problem but also the mental and spiritual blockages that are negatively affecting you.
But you don’t have to choose a medical style. You can (and should) be doing both. Integrative Medicine is the practice of using healing-oriented medical techniques that focus on the whole person, emphasizing patient/practitioner relationships, and looking at all aspects of lifestyle to make educated and informed decisions about therapies.
Integrative medicine relies on the bloodwork and physical checkups with your regular, western medical doctor. Using that information, an integrative medical practitioner can assess what is happening inside your body along with what is happening mentally, spiritually, and lifestyle-wise to make informed decisions about your medical needs.
The goal of an integrative medical practice is to get the body to a place of healthy maintenance where sickness is few and far between.
8 Principles of Integrative Medicine
There are eight defining principles for integrative medicine, defined by the University of Arizona that all integrative medical practitioners should follow:
- Practitioners and patients are partners
- All factors that affect health, wellness and disease are considered, including mind, spirit, and community in addition to the body
- Conventional and alternative methods are important for the body’s ability to heal properly
- Natural, less invasive, effective interventions should be used whenever possible
- Integrative medicine doesn’t accept alternative therapies uncritically nor does it reject conventional medicine
- Good medicine is based on inquiry-driven, good science that is open to new paradigms
- Broader concepts of health promotion and illness prevention are paramount
- Integrative medical practitioners should commit to self-exploration, self-development and exemplify these principles
Benefits of Integrative Medicine
When you combine eastern and western medical practices you get views as more than just a set of symptoms that need to be masked. Integrative medicine looks at the full range of emotional, environmental, physical, mental, social, and spiritual influences that can impact your health.
You are also given a completely customized medical experience. TCM and other eastern practitioners look at each of these factors for each of their patients, drawing no conclusions and no one-size-fits-all solution.
A study published in 2012 about Integrative Medicine showed that “Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs, and circumstances, it uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health.”
What Does an Integrative Medical Plan Look Like?
Each medical plan will be different based on your exact needs but often a combination of interventions include:
- Nutrition and Food Coaching
- Pharmacy prescriptions
Some of the most common issues treated are:
- Chronic Pain
- GI Conditions
Expanding our Life and Wellbeing
To get the most of your medical care, combining all avenues and styles of practice are important in treating more than just your symptoms. Combining care styles allow you to reach your full potential and live a longer, healthier, happier life.
If you are intersted in learning more about integrative medicine and how it can benefit you, give us a call today.