What is Integrative Medicine?

There are several “types” of medical practices out there, including conventional medical practices (employed by medical doctors, mainstream hospitals, and physical therapists) and alternative medical practices (such as homeopathy and herbalism). A lot of patients swear by one and completely disregard the other as ineffectual; however, you should never do this. Integrative medicine combines both conventional and alternative treatments in order to obtain the best possible results.

What is Integrative Medicine Treatment?

Conventional medicine involves surgery and synthetic drugs, while alternative medicine is based more on natural treatment, although the term is typically used for anything that falls outside of conventional treatment. This means that treatments such as acupuncture and iridology are both considered “alternative.” Some alternative treatments are scientifically validated, although some are not. Integrative medicine combines conventional medicine along with alternative medicine or treatments that have been scientifically validated.

The idea of integrative medicine has been pushed into the mainstream by Andrew Weil, M.D. Although often portrayed as a proponent of alternative medicine, Dr. Weil is very much an advocate of integrative medicine. He’s written numerous books on the topic and regularly performs lectures. It’s not just some idea that he came up with either–integrative medicine is practiced by thousands of doctors around the world.

Dr. Weil believes that there are many ways to treat a patient. There’s no reason to restrict treatment to conventional methods when alternative methods may be more effective, but that conventional methods still have their place as well depending on the patient and their diagnosis.

The Principles of Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine isn’t just a term used when treatment combines both conventional and alternative practices. It’s more than just that. The following are the elements of integrative medicine that make it so much different than either conventional or alternative practices:

  • Integrative medicine involves a partnership between the patient and the practitioner.

  • Everything that influences the patient’s health and wellness are taken into consideration, including not just the body, but also the mind and spirit.

  • Conventional and alternative healing methods are used when appropriate.

  • Less invasive treatment methods are used whenever possible.

  • Conventional medicine is not completely rejected, nor is alternative medicine completely accepted without critical consideration.

  • In addition to treatment, integrative medicine also focuses on promoting the patient’s health and preventing illness.

  • Practitioners commit to self-exploration and self-development for the benefit of their practice.

  • Integrative medicine is inquiry-driven and based on the idea that good medicine is based on good science.

When it comes down to it, integrative medicine is not some sort of new alternative practice. It’s a practice that simply emphasizes the relationship between the patient and the practitioner that focuses on the whole person using both conventional and alternative treatments that are informed by evidence.

Some of the treatments that practitioners of integrative medicine often recommend to their patients include physical therapy and chiropractic care. To find out about our physical therapy services or about our chiropractic care services, be sure to contact us in Vero Beach, FL, at Florida Spine to schedule an appointment today.