Integrative Medicine is a relatively new concept that goes beyond the treatment of symptoms to address the causes of disease. It involves personalized care and is highly concerned with prevention, not only treatment.
Here to explain Integrative Medicine in a guest post is Michelle Niesley, N.D., M.S. Her website is http://www.theaspireclinic.com/
Dr. Niesley introduces us to the field:
“Integrative medicine”—it’s the newest buzzword in medical care. Almost everyone knows someone who received acupuncture for chronic pain or to help them quit smoking, or saw a chiropractor for back or neck pain. Integrative medicine is not ‘alternative medicine’, which is used in the place of standard medical care.Integrative medicine blends the best of our scientific understanding used in standard medical practice with lifestyle interventions to provide patients with unique care that is optimal for them.
The word ‘doctor’ comes from the Latin word docere which means ‘to teach’. Most doctors received medical education that centered on surgical interventions and prescribing of medications. These are vitally important to the healthcare of many. But medical doctors who do not seek out additional training receive approximately 8 hours of education on ‘nutrition, vitamins, and minerals’—which makes it challenging to ‘teach’ patients about lifestyle changes they can make to improve their health. As such, many patients are looking for ways to fill in their healthcare gaps, and seek out healthcare providers who have expertise in lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes,herbal or nutritional supplements, exercise physiology, homeopathy, acupuncture and Chinese medicine, or chiropractic care. Most patients could greatly benefit from an ‘integrative care team’, with medical doctors sharing patients with acupuncturists, chiropractors, therapists, naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, and other providers who were provide their own expertise in helping you achieve and maintain optimal health.
For example, many are taking medications for high blood pressure. But the reason(s)whythey have high blood pressure can vary greatly from one person to the next. Integrative care will provide you with a ‘roadmap to wellness’ that includes detailed dietary recommendations, a feasible exercise regimen, and guidance on herbal or nutritional supplements (such as magnesium, fish oil, and CoQ10). We also determine if any other factors may be contributing to the condition—such as stress at work or home, too much alcohol, cigarette smoking, etc… and can help provide resources to help you change your environment to ensure success.
Many integrative providers analyze the same labs your family physician does—but we look to see if the results are ‘optimal’ as compared to ‘within normal limits’. Most patients don’t want to be ‘okay’; they want to feel as well as possible. The goal is provide you with the tools you need to put control of your healthcare back into your hands. Integrative providers believe that everyone would benefit from an individual analysis of our health so that we can pinpoint which small lifestyle modifications may lead to big changes in how we feel.