What is Integrative Medicine?

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What is Integrative Medicine?

Many of our first-time patients ask us what “integrative medicine” means and how it will help with the treatment of their symptoms or condition.

Integrative medicine is an approach that uses the best evidence-based practices to enhance conventional care. It is distinct from alternative medicine, which generally means choosing to use healing modalities in place of conventional care, or complementary medicine, which incorporates other modalities whether or not there is scientific evidence to support their use.

Integrative medicine encompasses a broad range of therapeutic approaches to achieve optimal health and wellness for those who are ill or those who are concerned about disease prevention. It is a powerful resource for those seeking to participate actively in their healthcare. At your appointment, you have the opportunity to ask questions and discover what therapies are safe and actually helpful, so that you can make rational choices about your own healthcare. Integrative medicine evaluates and incorporates specific services that address the whole person, not just the disease.

Chronic disease, often associated with challenging symptoms, may create stress and anxiety, which in turn contributes to the difficulty in managing many of those symptoms. Our patients benefit from our multi-disciplinary approach, with practitioners providing a variety of services to enhance your conventional medical treatment. Services available to our patients include: gastroenterology consultation, nutrition consultation, acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, and visual imagery.

Integrative medicine pairs traditional medicine with other treatments to care for your mind, body, and spirit.  For example, your doctor may suggest chemotherapy to fight cancer as well as acupuncture to help manage its side effects.

It isn’t just medicine. Your care team may also design a plan to help you build healthy behaviors and skills — like smart eating habits and stress-busting activities. These things can keep you healthy for the long term.

Integrative medicine uses complementary treatments, but they have to be backed by good science. Always tell your doctor before you try a nontraditional treatment. That way, you’ll know if it’s safe and likely to work.

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