Choose integrative medicine for health and wellness

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

For those who don’t know, integrative medicine is the blending of conventional medicine with complementary or alternative medicine. 

Essentially, an integrative treatment is one that utilizes traditional drugs and surgery in combination with other holistic therapies such as Ayurveda, homeopathy, acupuncture, yoga, meditation and massages. 

This medical practice doesn’t just remedy a patient’s disease or pain. It also dives deeply into the patient’s physical, emotional, spiritual and pathophysiological wellness. 

Integrative medicine is preventative and curative, just like conventional medicine, but it also brings forth a dimension of healing that conventional medicine and alternative medicine simply can’t reach on their own. 

It is understandable why people tend to be skeptical about alternative medicine. After all, the scientific evidence proving the legitimacy of alternative treatments is just beginning to roll out. 

Additionally, alternative medical treatments are known to take much longer to work than conventional treatments. This is because every health issue is dealt with at its root by promoting lifestyle changes, emotional/spiritual wellness therapies and natural (non-lab-made) medication. Therefore, alternative medicine is not the best option in emergency situations. 

On the other side, alternative medicine patients do receive personal attention and tailored treatment plans to heal not only their ailments but also their body and mind. 

Patients often feel long-term betterment due to the fact that they are given the lifestyle tools to promote further healing. Alternative medicine patients also tend to suffer less from the side effects of their medication. 

Last but not least, alternative medicine is much more affordable than conventional medicine. 

On the other hand, conventional medicine is widely accepted throughout the world, especially in western societies. There is a lot of scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of conventional medicine. 

It is especially great in emergency situations and can be helpful if a patient wants to treat an illness and its symptoms quickly. 

Unfortunately, conventional medicine does fall short since treatment is often localized to where the disease or pain is rather than treating a patient on the whole. 

In these ways, conventional medicine might not be the best in cases of chronic pain and illness. 

Alternative medicine and conventional medicine both have drawbacks and benefits, but together they make an incredible treatment plan. 

Where one falls short the other pulls through and vice versa. The best example is a cancer patient. 

Telling a cancer patient to only take natural medication and to practice yoga to rid themselves of the cancer is impractical. 

Telling a cancer patient to go through chemotherapy without accounting for other facets of their wellness is also impractical. 

A patient should go through chemo while also focusing on alternative medicine treatments such as inflammatory food avoidance.

As time passes, studies increasingly show that there is a strong connection between mind and body when it comes to illness. 

For example, studies have demonstrated that depression is a risk factor for heart disease. 

The mind and body affect one another, so a successful, sustainable treatment would address mind-body related health issues along with physical issues. 

For example, studies show that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in combination with highly active antiretroviral therapy is a great combination to treat HIV-positive men.

In this treatment, both mind and body are looked after to foster the long-term healing of HIV-positive men.

While alternative medicine works best for some people, and conventional medicine works better for others, it is the gap that integrative medicine bridges that truly promotes sustainable and successful health and wellness.