What is Holistic & Integrative Medicine?
With more and more health care options available, it can be difficult to find what’s right for you. This is especially true if you’ve found yourself dissatisfied with conventional medicine.
Conventional medicine focuses on treating and easing symptoms but often overlooks determining the root cause of the condition. It also sees the body as a set of independent systems, with doctors focusing treatments on a single system rather than viewing all systems as interconnected. In addition, many conventional medicine patients feel appointments are too rushed and impersonal, with doctors spending as little as 5-10 minutes with individuals.
For this reason, many individuals are seeking a holistic and integrative approach to healthcare. With this modality, doctors treat the whole person—mind, body, spirit, and emotions. They also seek to truly develop a partnership with the patient by taking the time to listen to them and learn about what factors in their life may be affecting their help. On average, holistic and integrative doctors will spend 30-45 minutes with the patient. A holistic integrative doctor will partner with the patient to heal and balance the whole person to achieve optimal health.
What is Holistic & Integrative Medicine?
When you’re seeking alternatives to conventional medicine, it can be confusing to know the difference between different modalities, philosophies, and approaches. For example, terms such as “holistic” and “integrative” medicine get used so interchangeably it can be confusing.
To clear up some of this muddy water and help you make a well-informed decision, here is a brief overview of holistic medicine and integrative medicine.
What is Holistic Medicine?
“Holistic” is an umbrella term used to describe an approach to medicine that seeks to address the larger context around a health problem. It is characterized by believing that the body is interconnected and that physicals systems are interconnected not only with other parts of the body, but also with the mind, spirit, and emotions. Holistic medicine also seeks to discover the underlying cause of a health issue or condition; not only to treat the surface symptoms of the disease.
This makes holistic medicine a philosophy more than an actual modality. Medical professionals from alternative health care providers to integrative functional doctors may be holistic depending on their philosophy and approach to care.
For example, if someone suffers from an ulcer, a holistic medical provider may work with the patient to determine the mind is out of balance from stress and seek to bring the mind back into balance through meditation and relaxation exercises. Holistic medicine may also see that the ulcer patient’s body lacks balance due to improper diet or imbalanced pH and will seek to restore balance through nutritional counseling, supplements, or eliminating inflammatory foods from the diet.
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine physicians have undergone conventional medical school training and embrace other modalities of medicine including Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and more. It is often considered an East-West approach to medicine.
Because it accepts science-backed philosophies, integrative medicine utilizes a well-rounded selection of therapies including nutritional counseling, exercise therapy, relaxation therapy, acupuncture, IV drip therapy, hormone replacement therapy, and more, and combines them with allopathic treatments such as conventional drugs or procedures. The idea is to heal illness with the mildest form of treatment possible and increase the intensity only as needed. It also seeks to account for the context behind a person’s health problems by looking at the mind, body, spirit, and community.
If we return to the ulcer patient example, integrative medicine would identify the stress and diet issues the person is experiencing. It might begin treatment with meditation, changes in diet, pH balancing, and exercise recommendations. If the body is still unable to heal itself, additional conventional treatments may be used to help heal the ulcer while the patient and doctor work in partnership to bring the body back into balance.
What Healthcare Approach is Best for You?
Choosing a form of healthcare is incredibly personal and there is no one size that fits all. However, it’s important to know that there are more options available than conventional western medicine.
If you’re looking to replace or complement western medicine to achieve optimal health, integrative holistic medicine might be the right choice for you. For more information, schedule an appointment with CentreSprings MD to discuss our integrative holistic approach to medicine and to discover whether this is the right healthcare approach for you.