Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances, it uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health.1
The Defining Principles of Integrative Medicine
1. Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
2. All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including mind, spirit, and community, as well as the body.
3. Appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods facilitates the body's innate healing response.
4. Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive should be used whenever possible.
5. Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.
6. Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.
7. Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.
8. Practitioners of integrative medicine should exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.2
The Integrative Model of treatment includes assessment and treatment of the following elements:
1) Physical Issues, Complaints, Illnesses, Conditions
2) Sleep - Are you getting 7-9 hours of restful sleep or are you having problems sleeping?
3) Nutrition - Are you getting the appropriate nutrition in your food choices for brain and body health?
4) Exercise (movement) - How much are you getting or not getting?
4) Stress Assessment - How much Stress do you have in your life and how do deal with it. In
other words, what methods do they have and/or use to reduce/release their stress? and,
6) Purpose and/or Passion(s) in life -
What are they and how are they nurturing these areas of their life?
a.) Work/Job/Career Satisfaction, and,
b.) Relationships (with significant others, family, work, social, both friends, acquaintances and roles in the community)
d.) Spirituality Issues
f, ) Etc.
The elements listed above can be grouped into the following catergories:
- Medical or physical issues?
- Food Choices
- Exercise (Movement) - What kind and how much?
- Opimal Brain health - Sleep - Nutrition - Exercise (Movement) - Stress Relief/Release
- Psychological - Positive thinking or negative thinking? Optimistic or pessimistic? Positive beliefs or
- What are your Stressors in life?
- How do you deal with them? What ways do you know to get relief from your stress?
- Self-Esteem - How do you feel about yourself?
- Life purpose
- Work Performance/Career
- What kind of relationships do you have with loved ones and friends, acquaintances and peers at work
and in your community?
- What/if any connection(s) to Higher Self/Higher Power? Why are you here on this planet?
How We Deal with our Stress is a Major Factor that effects all of these elements that have to be balanced to live at our optimal physical health and overall Well-Being.
- Stress Relief/Release - I put Stress Relief/Release first because not having good "tools" to Relieve or Release our daily Stress, it will effect our performance in all the other areas leading to optimal health.
- Social Interaction
In my Therapy Practice any and all of these problems can be addressed. My clients choose whatever components of this model they wish to work on. Although I obviously don't give physical examinations, we can certainly discuss issues related to the physical issues/problems clients may be going through, as well as addressing the emotional and mental components that can exacerate the physical issues/problems. You can work on any and/or all of these issues, depending on what your needs and desires are.
Holistic Health is an ancient approach to health that considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment.
It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning the very best that is possible.
It is sometimes referred to as alternative health, complimentary health or natural health but these terms are not always interchangeable.
Traditional medical doctors treat the body and ignore the mind,
Traditional mental health professionals treat the mind and ignore the body.
And, neither one of them addresses the importance of the spiritual aspects of living.
Both of them treat symptoms with drugs or surgery rather than looking for what causes the symptom.
Holistic Health is a system of preventive care that:
takes into account the whole individual, mind, body and spirit - doesn't view the body, mind and spirit as separate entities. The body, mind and spirit are not independent of one another. They are intertwined. What affects one affects the others. A philosophy that focuses on only one aspect is an incomplete approach.
addresses the total influences on one’s health - social, psychological and environmental factors that affect health, including nutrition, exercise, and mental relaxation.
has wellness approaches that are considered to be wholesome, healthy and not harmful or toxic to the individual or the environment.
looks for the underlying causes of symptoms, rather than just covering up the symptoms with a drug – it promotes drugs and surgery only when absolutely essential and after all other solutions have been sought.
expects holistic practitioners to facilitate treatment approaches that are highly individualized for the unique needs of each individual and the patient and their practitioner make decisions together as partners to develop the health care plan.
encourages the individual to engage in self care and educate themselves about their health. It urges them be an active participant in their treatment and health care, rather than giving all the power to a health care provider.
1. Duke Integrative Medicine,
2. The University of Arizona State - Arizona Center for Integrated Medicine -
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