An Integrative Approach: Diet, Medication, and Lifestyle
Health isn’t only determined by physical factors, so why would health care only revolve around this? Integrative medicine takes a broader approach; it looks at the whole individual to address the body, mind, and soul. This article will delve into this approach to help you better care for your health and well-being.
What is integrative medicine?
Health is not simply the absence of disease. It goes beyond that, involving physical, mental, and social well-being factors.
That being said, shouldn’t these factors be considered in a healthcare treatment?
That’s what integrative medicine is about – this approach to health focuses on the individual rather than the illness or disease.
The integrative approach aims to understand the causes of someone’s symptoms or condition. This typically involves examining the patient’s body, mind, and spirit.
Principles of holistic and integrative approaches
As by integrative medicine, your health is shaped by your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs. Integrative medicine combines therapies and lifestyle changes to address these different aspects.
The key principles of an integrative approach are:
- Treating the individual as a whole
- Addressing the underlying cause of the condition or symptom
- Encouraging patients to have an active role in their own care
- Using both conventional and complementary and alternative therapies to prevent diseases and promote optimal health.
Traditional versus integrative approach
In conventional medicine, when someone is sick, it's usually because an organ or system isn't working properly, leading to unpleasant symptoms. Treatments typically follow scientific evidence and can range from medications and surgery to changes in diet, lifestyle, and physiotherapy.
On the other hand, integrative medicine brings together conventional medicine and natural healing practices. It also empowers the individual to actively participate in their care.
What does an integrative approach look like?
The integrative approach integrates all aspects of well-being to promote healing and optimal health. It can cover a wide range of techniques and practices, including:
- Acupuncture involves inserting thin needles through the skin at strategic points in the body. It may help with various conditions such as joint pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, and depression.
- Chiropractic therapy – chiropractic is a treatment where chiropractors use their hands to help relieve bone, muscle, and joint problems.
- Chinese herbal therapy – Chinese herbalists use herbs, minerals, and other extracts to help alleviate many problems, such as digestive disorders, menopausal symptoms, pain, and fatigue.
- Nutrition – This involves using nutrients from food to help treat and prevent common chronic diseases. The integrative approach typically uses special diets such as vegan, low-carb, Mediterranean, and FODMAP to improve overall wellness.
- Psychotherapy – holistic psychotherapy incorporates evidence-based methods to enhance mood and address conditions such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and various other symptoms.
- Massage therapy – massage therapy involves manipulating the body's soft tissues to enhance well-being.
- Yoga – this ancient practice uses poses to boost physical energy and find inner peace.
- Tai chi – Tai chi is a Chinese martial art practiced mainly for self-defense and health.
- Reiki – Reiki is an alternative medicine method that directs energy through the body to promote self-healing.
Main benefits of the integrative approach
The principal advantage of the integrative approach is that, unlike the conventional approach, it supports the body’s ability to heal itself.
This method motivates individuals to actively participate in their healing process and empowers them to make lifestyle adjustments for enhanced well-being.
For some people, incorporating integrative medicine into their healthcare routine helps them gain more control over their well-being.
Are there any risks?
While integrative medicine techniques are generally safe, they shouldn't replace the care you receive from your primary doctor and specialists. Instead, they should work alongside regular medical treatments. Always talk to your healthcare provider before trying a new medical treatment.
The bottom line
Integrative medicine combines conventional and alternative medicine techniques and practices to prevent and treat diseases. It's usually considered safe but can't replace regular medical care. Use these two methods together to boost your overall health.
- World Health Organization. Constitution.
- Cleveland Clinic. Integrative Medicine.
- American Holistic Health Association. Principles of Holistic Medicine.
- MSD Manual. Differences Between Conventional and Integrative Medicine.