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A Growing Trend: Integrative Medicine

Listen to “A Growing Trend: Integrative Medicine”.


In the past few years, many doctors and conventional healthcare institutions worldwide have shown a new interest in treatments and philosophies that have not been part of traditional mainstream medicine.

The term’ alternative medicine’ is losing ground to a newer idea of ‘integrative medicine’.

Integrative medicine is a medical practice that:

  • Treats the root causes of illness instead of the symptoms
  • Treats the patient as a whole person
  • Focuses on achieving optimal health and healing
  • Emphasizes the relationship between patients and physicians
  • Takes into account patients’ lifestyles and environments

Integrative medicine addresses the full range of a patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and environmental influences. It also deploys therapies that extend beyond the surgeries and drugs that have previously defined the western medical establishment.

Integrative medicine’s supporters do not reject conventional or allopathic medicine. Instead, they insist that there is room at the table for all options. 

While pills and procedures still help millions of patients, there is mounting evidence that diet and nutrition; natural therapeutics such as supplements, vitamins, herbs, and acupuncture; good lifestyle behaviours such as exercise, diet and meditation and smoking cessation all have a direct impact on disease.

In integrative medicine, an illness can mean a breakdown of physical and mental wellbeing. Treatment is not necessarily a cure but is instead aimed at stimulating the body’s natural resources and self-healing abilities.

These therapies have been practised for centuries worldwide:

  •  Ayurveda
  •   Acupuncture
  •  Ayurveda
  •  Homeopathy
  •  Naturopathy
  •  Chinese or Oriental medicine

Diet and herbs

Over the centuries, man has gone from a simple diet consisting of meats, fruits, vegetables, and grains, to one that often includes foods rich in fats, oils, and complex carbohydrates. Nutritional excesses and deficiencies have become big problems in today’s society, with both contributing to some chronic diseases. 

Many dietary and herbal approaches attempt to balance the body’s nutritional well being. Dietary and herbal approaches may include:

  •  Dietary supplements
  •  Herbal medicine
  •  Nutrition/diet

Energy healing 

Depending on the method, energy healing focuses on the life force that flows through all of us and dictates our mood, health, energy, and ability to connect with other beings. In Chinese and Japanese culture, this force is referred to as ki or qi (pronounced: chi). In India, it is known as prana, the energy that spins and flows through the chakras, an intangible force that cannot be comprehended in the materialist sense. 

  • Electromagnetic therapy
  • Reiki
  • Qigong
  • Ayahuasca
  • Sound Healing

 Body therapies:

  •  Chiropractic and osteopathic medicine
  •  Massage
  •  Body movement therapies
  •  Tai chi
  •  Yoga

Mind. 

Even standard or conventional medicine recognizes the power of the connection between mind and body. Studies have found that people heal better if they have good emotional and mental health. Therapies using the mind may include:

  •  Meditation
  •  Biofeedback
  •  Hypnosis

The combination of the best of Western scientific medicine with a broader understanding of the nature of illness, healing and wellness gives hope to humanity achieving its optimal health and healing in holistic ways. 

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