Integrative medicine is a branch of medicine that takes a holistic approach to healthcare, meaning it looks at the whole person, not just their physical health. Rather than just treating symptoms, an integrative medicine clinic focuses on finding the root cause of illness and imbalance. In this way, integrative medicine can help prevent disease and promote overall wellness.
Four key principles underpin integrative medicine, including:
A Patient iS a Whole Person, Not Just a Collection of Symptoms.
In conventional medicine, doctors often treat patients based on their symptoms. For example, if a patient comes into an integrative medicine clinic with a headache, the doctor will prescribe pain medication rather than try to find out what is causing the headache in the first place. However, integrative medicine focuses on finding and treating the root cause of illness rather than just alleviating symptoms. In other words, it takes into account all aspects of the patient's life, including their diet, lifestyle, and stress levels. By looking at the whole person, integrative medicine practitioners can get to the bottom of what is causing illness and imbalances.
The Root Cause of Illness Must Be Found and Treated.
To truly heal, it is essential to find and treat the root cause of illness rather than just addressing symptoms. For example, if a patient comes in with fatigue, rather than prescribing them caffeine or energy drinks, an integrative practitioner would look for any underlying causes of the fatigue, such as iron deficiency or thyroid problems. Once the root cause has been identified, treatment can begin. This approach often leads to better long-term outcomes as it addresses the underlying problem rather than just masking symptoms.
The Body Has an Innate Ability to Heal Itself.
One of the key tenets of integrative medicine is that the body has an innate ability to heal itself given the right conditions. This means that when someone becomes ill, their body is already working hard to fight off infection or disease. However, sometimes a modern lifestyle can get in the way of the body's natural healing process. For example, if a patient is constantly stressed or not getting enough sleep, their immune system can become compromised, and they may be more likely to get sick. An integrative medicine clinic works with patients to identify lifestyle factors that may hamper their body's natural ability to heal and help them make the necessary changes.
Prevention Is The Best Medicine.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This age-old saying could not be truer when it comes to integrative medicine. One of the key principles of this branch of healthcare is prevention. It is easier (and cheaper) to prevent diseases from occurring in the first place rather than trying to treat them once they have already taken hold. To achieve this goal, practitioners work with patients on lifestyle changes such as eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and managing stress levels rather than waiting for them to become sick before intervening.
Integrative medicine takes a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on finding and treating the root cause of illness rather than just alleviating symptoms. The above principles allow practitioners of integrative medicine to provide personalized care that leads to better long-term outcomes for patients.