What Is Integrative Medicine? - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on September 08, 2015

What Is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative Medicine is a holistic approach to medicine that combines the traditional practices of medicine with non-conventional practices.

Integrative Medicine is a holistic approach to
medicine that combines the traditional practices
of medicine with non-conventional practices.

Over the years, more and more evidence has come out confirming the mind-body connection is real. The mind-body connection is the understanding that emotions affect physical health, stemming from the discovery that there isn’t a division between the two because of the networks of communication that exist between your brain and neurological, endocrine and immune systems.

The strong body of research confirming this connection has led more healthcare providers to move from treating the illness to treating the whole person – the mind, body and spirit. This approach to healthcare is called integrative medicine.

Doctors and patients alike are embracing integrative medicine and its approach to treating the whole person, not just the disease.

Integrative medicine incorporates conventional medical treatment options with complementary approaches that take into account a patient’s physical symptoms as well as psychological, social and spiritual aspects of their health and illness.

Complementary medicine uses non-conventional approaches to healing beyond traditional medicine. Broadly, complementary medicine is any form of therapy used in combination with standard or conventional medicine, usually serving the purpose to relieve symptoms and improve quality of life.

Some patients turn to complementary treatments to relieve their symptoms or side effects while undergoing standard or conventional medical treatments, like pain relief during cancer treatment. Complementary medicine can include natural products like dietary supplements and herbal medicine. It can also include mind and body practices, including yoga, tai chi, qigong, massage, meditation, hypnosis, acupuncture, body movement and chiropractic medicine. Other complementary practices include guided imagery, biofeedback, homeopathy, naturopathy, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, electromagnetic therapy, art, dance and music.

These complementary treatments are combined with conventional treatments to form integrative medicine, which can be beneficial for people trying to quit smoking and other unhealthy habits, those suffering with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, or patients in treatment for cancer or multiple sclerosis.

People dealing with chronic pain may use mindfulness meditation, yoga, acupuncture or hypnosis to relieve their symptoms. The same goes for those trying to manage the pain that comes with arthritis, osteoporosis, joint paint, lymphedema, headaches and fibromyalgia. People going through cancer treatment may utilize massage therapy and yoga to reduce their symptoms of pain and fatigue.

An important aspect of integrative medicine is that patients’ doctors administering conventional treatments are very much a part of their complementary treatments. Even though licensed and trained practitioners are administering the complementary treatments, they are first informed by the patient’s doctor of their condition and health history. Then, throughout the complementary treatments, the patient’s doctor checks in or receives updates on their progress.

If you’re interested in an integrative approach, make sure you first discuss it with your doctor – some treatments may have side effects or interact with other medications you’re taking. You doctor will work with you to help you carefully choose complementary practitioners and treatments that are right for you.

Related Locations

  • Ayuvia


    500 Evergreen Drive
    Suite 22
    Glen Mills, PA 19342

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