Integrative Medicine uses the best scientifically validated interventions from both mainstream medicine and CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health and vitality.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) use this definition:
- National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Integrative Medicine combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.”
Integrative medicine medical doctors like me use pharmaceutical medications in conjunction with non-medication approaches where appropriate.
In many conditions pharmaceutical approaches are not particularly effective and there is stronger research evidence for the non- pharmaceutical approach.
- Mindfulness based cognitive therapy for depression
- Elimination diet for ADHD
Generally integrative approaches are closer to nature, cheaper, safer and less invasive than conventional therapies.
Conventional, pharmaceutical medicine excels at saving lives and solving ‘acute’ medical problems. If you get hurt in an accident you want to be taken straight to the hospital not your yoga instructor!
Where integrative medicine is often superior to mainstream medicine is in the management of ‘chronic’ health issues.
There are a variety of conditions that are almost impossible to deal with by focusing on pharmaceutical approaches where an integrative approach is highly effective.
The most effective integrative interventions I have found to be useful which I use with my patients and clients in my programs are:
- Therapeutic and eliminations Diets
- Mindfulness / MBSR
- Clinical hypnotherapy
- Cannabis medicine
Other highly effective integrative tools I recommend sometimes include:
- Massage therapy