by Chef K.T. Murphy
If you are seriously ill, you would want to take advantage of any evidence-based approach to get better, wouldn’t you? In essence, that is what Integrative Medicine or Integrative Healthcare (IH) does. It takes the most effective treatments from different disciplines to construct a personalized health plan for the patient’s unique and emotional needs, according to WebMD. It’s far from a one-size-fits-all approach.
The University of Arizona’s Center for Integrative Medicine says integrative medicine takes account of the whole person, “covering all aspects of their lifestyle, including mind, body, spirit and the community.” It also emphasizes the relationship between the patient and practitioner, who become partners in the treatment process.
Integrative Medicine, the center says, “Neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts without question alternative therapies.” Practitioners believe that ultimately good medicine, ne it conventional or alternative practices should be based on sound science, be inquiry-driven and be open to new paradigms.
Integrative Medicine also emphasizes non-invasive intervention, where possible. It not only concentrates on treating diseases but also promoting overall health and the prevention of disease.
The National Center for Integrative Primary Healthcare (NCIPH) says, “Integrative Healthcare (IH) addresses biomedical and sociocultural determinants of health and takes a broad view of health creation and disease prevention.” (Global Advances in Health and Medicine, September 2015.)
The NCIPH believes that by treating not only the individual patient, but the family and community as well, IH can help prevent and treat a whole slew of chronic health problems, such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, depression, and even violence.
Complementary or alternative medicine (CAM) is no longer a fringe science. The NCIPH cites a US Centers for Disease Control study that shows one-third of adult Americans and 12% of children made use of some form of CAM between 2002 and 2012. To further solidify its status as a medical specialty; most medical insurances will now cover CAM treatments such as acupuncture.
The disciplines included in Integrated Healthcare run the gamut from family medicine to behavioral medicine and nutrition. The integrated approach also emphasizes the importance of communication and collaboration between the different disciplines. IH encourages breaking down the silos that divide the professions. As with CAM, Integrative Healthcare is now a medical specialty practiced by board-certified practitioners, says WebMD. Most medical schools and hospitals are incorporating IH into their syllabi. In addition, more patients are demanding IH-based treatments.
WebMD cites a program at a Sausalito research facility that has successfully used an IH program to reverse heart disease. The program combines diet, exercise, stress management, yoga, group support, and meditation with conventional diagnostic procedures and drug therapies. In addition, in a Stanford study, women with late stage breast cancer doubled their chance of survival by participating in group therapy while undergoing conventional treatments.
Web MD suggests that IH is gaining popularity because it is an answer to the increasing number of chronic, complex diseases that confound conventional medicine.
Both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue Syndrome (CFS), for example, involve a number of the body’s systems – the immune, circulatory, and digestive and nervous systems, which interact with each other in confusing and unexpected ways.
Conventional medicine is based on the idea that there is single cause behind a disease. However, in diseases like fibromyalgia and CFS, there is a dizzying array of factors that conspire to make a person sick. Therefore, sufferers of chronic, complex diseases need more than a single drug, or surgery, or a new-fangled hi-tech intervention. Patients have been shown to recover more successfully if they are treated with an amalgam of conventional and alternative therapies.
IH is bashing down the wall between conventional and alternative medicine. It’s no longer a case of “take two pills and call me in the morning.” You’ll still get your pills but with a side of yoga and meditation
All the best, Been in the hospital for 30 days with multiple experiencing first hand.