What is Integrated Medicine? There are many definitions and concepts that surround the word Integrated Medicine. Before I looked for a definition my personal vision was an incorporation or integration of different treatment modalities to enhance the practice of allopathic “western medicine” that is science based. This is basically in line with the NIH definition as given below
As defined by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, integrative medicine “combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.”
This practice has evolved to incorporate lifestyle medicine, and functional medicine that has scientific basis to the practice of traditional western medicine. The focus is on the whole human being rather than piecemeal parts. There are other modalities that I might suggest such as acupuncture, chiropractic care that we do not offer here. None of these modalities replace the core foundation of practice of medicine. They do however help us to practice our medicine better. To have our patients feel better and to live healthier lives is our goal. We want to use whatever modalities that will help us achieve that.
Dr. Andrew Weil one of the pioneers of this concept has the following on his website and I don’t have anything else to add because it is complete and when I read this I realized that I have been striving to incorporate this philosophy into my practice without calling it integrative medicine
Integrative medicine is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind, and spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both conventional and alternative. The principles of integrative medicine:
- A partnership between patient and practitioner in the healing process
- Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
- Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including mind, spirit and community as well as body
- A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically
- Recognition that good medicine should be based in good science, be inquiry driven, and be open to new paradigms
- Use of natural, effective, less-invasive interventions whenever possible
- Use of the broader concepts of promotion of health and the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease
- Training of practitioners to be models of health and healing, committed to the process of self-exploration and self-development.
Let us see how we would manage Diabetes through this paradigm.
From Internal Medicine perspective, we would be looking at markers to see the level of control, and tell you that you should eat right, exercise, and recommend medications as needed and required by national guidelines
Lifestyle medicine would help you incorporate nutrition exercise and promote a healthy lifestyle that enhances medication management through a coaching approach
Functional medicine would help us take a deeper dive to see what else can be done to target diabetes. For example do you have significant inflammation, is your stress so out of control the increased cortisol is promoting insulin resistance and so many other details.
At the end of the day we try to provide a personalized approach to your medical care by using all modalities that are available that can be supported by scientific evidence.