What's integrative health?

Integrative health aims at well-coordinated care between different providers and institutions by combining conventional and complementary approaches to caring for the whole person. The use of integrative approaches to health and wellness has grown in care settings in the United States. An Integrative Health professional uses all appropriate therapies, both conventional and complementary, to facilitate healing and promote optimal health. In recent decades, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in morbidity from preventable diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Integrative Medicine (IM) is healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between doctor and patient, is evidence-based and makes use of all appropriate therapies. Integrative medicine is a comprehensive, patient-centered medical practice that uses therapies based on both evidence and experience. The American Board of Medical Specialties offers integrative medicine certification through the American Board of Integrative Medicine.

Traditionally, the term integrative medicine is defined as the combination of complementary and alternative medicine (MCA) methods together with conventional or allopathic medicine. If you are looking for an integrative medicine professional, look for someone who is fully accredited in their specialty and transparent about their experiences and belief system. In this way, integrative medicine “integrates all aspects of your well-being for optimal health and healing. Researchers are exploring the benefits of integrative medicine for several conditions and situations, such as pain management, symptom relief for cancer patients and survivors, and programs that promote healthy behaviors to maintain long-term health.

The integrative medicine approach addresses your immediate health needs, as well as the other factors that influence your long-term health and well-being. Therefore, there has been a tendency to use the term integrative health that encompasses the broader existing systems affecting health and disease, including family, occupational, social and ecological systems. Integrative health is based on safe and effective evidence-based medicines and curative approaches, along with valid lifestyle or preventive medicine principles from a variety of traditions. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is a good tool for researching a therapy you are considering.

During your first visit with an integrative medicine professional, your health history will be reviewed and the root causes of your illness will be explored to better understand how emotional, physical, social, spiritual and environmental factors may be contributing to your health problems. Integrative medicine emphasizes the relationship between doctor and patient and is based on a model of focus on health and well-being, rather than a model of disease. Many integrative medicine physicians have received professional training focused on safe, evidence-based integrative therapies. Integrative medicine combines a variety of disciplines, including alternative and conventional Western medical therapies, to provide safe and effective healthcare.

Integrative medicine in the United States: How integrative medicine is practiced in clinical centers in the United States.

Lynette Onusko
Lynette Onusko

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