What is Integrative Medicine?
December 31, 2014
Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person's health. Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient's unique conditions, needs and circumstances, integrative medicine uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimal health.
Integrative medicine is really all of the above and so much more. Integrative medicine is a medical specialty that focuses on the whole person. It acknowledges that we all have individualized biochemical and genetic needs. It recognizes that we all can improve our health by looking at ALL the factors that impact us.
One of the fundamental differences between an integrative physician and a conventionally trained physician is that I first look at what barriers to health I might need to remove (inflammatory diet, poor stress management techniques, toxic pollutants, negative thoughts, supplements or pharmaceuticals that may be disrupting health, etc.) before I think of what to “put in".
As integrative medicine specialists, our goal is to identify the root cause of a medical condition. We use nutrition, botanicals and supplements, functional medicine, and various mind-body medicine tools, such as meditation, yoga, and guided imagery to help patients correct core imbalances that may be driving disease.
Anyone can benefit from an Integrative Medicine approach. We see patients with all types of conditions from those wanting to focus on prevention to those with a diverse array of chronic health conditions. Those with digestive tract problems, autoimmune diseases, fibromyalgia, headaches, hypertension, fatigue, high cholesterol, or anxiety and depression may find it particularly helpful. We work with patients’ primary care providers to offer a team approach and a different perspective to look at health. The truth is that our bodies want to heal and we need to give it the tools to do so. Questions to ask yourself:
- Do I want to make changes to my diet and lifestyle that can improve my health?
- Do I feel like my medications and conventional approach are not maximally treating my condition?
- Is the stress in my life feeling unmanageable? Do I want to learn more about meditation and other relaxation techniques?
- Do I want to use the food I eat as medicine?
- Do I need to strengthen my immune system?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, call us for a consultation. Appointments can be made by calling Swedish Family Medicine Cherry Hill at 206-320-2484 and asking for a new patient visit in our Integrative Medicine clinic.