Maximizing Wellness: What Is Integrative Medicine and Is It Right for You?

Did you know that 38% of American adults aged 18 and older use some form of complementary and alternative medicine? 12% of U.S. children also use complementary treatments.

Complementary medicine includes a variety of things but might work best when combined with traditional Western medicine. This combination is known as integrative medicine.

What is integrative medicine exactly? Keep reading to find out.

What Is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative medicine approaches wellness by combining conventional Western medicine and complementary medicine.

Traditional Western medicine includes lifestyle changes, surgery, and drugs. Complementary medicine includes therapies that aren’t considered Western medicine like yoga and meditation.

Integrative Medicine Providers

You can receive integrative medicine from one practitioner or a team of providers. Traditional Western medicine providers consist of the following:

  • Medical doctors (MD)
  • Doctors of osteopathy (DO)
  • Nurse practitioners (NP)
  • Physician assistants (PA)

These providers have completed formal medical training to deliver more conventional therapies to their patients. Their approach focuses on care based on evidence.

Complementary medicine healers might come from different backgrounds. These nontraditional professionals might be any of the following:

  • Doctors of naturopathic or chiropractic medicine
  • Massage therapists
  • Acupuncturists
  • Energy healers

Some of these healers are certified in integrative medicine by passing rigorous exams. Others are licensed therapists.

Integrative Family Medicine combines MDs and other healers to create an integrative approach for their patients.

Is Integrative Medicine Right for You?

The benefits of integrative medicine involve combining complementary therapies and traditional treatments to deliver whole-person care. This combination can heal the mind, body, and spirit.

Complementary therapies can help you cope with complications, symptoms, or side effects from traditional treatment. They are not meant to replace conventional treatment.

A lot of patients benefit from seeing an integrative medicine doctor. Those with complex or chronic medical conditions are more likely to benefit from the combined approaches.

If you are living with the following disorders, it might be worth it to try integrative medicine:

  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Diabetes
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Sciatica

Above are physical ailments that many patients deal with, but integrative medicine might also help those suffering from mental illness. These disorders include the following:

  • Addiction
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • PTSD
  • ADHD

Integrative medicine maximizes well-being with healing opportunities and disease-focused therapies.

Types of Complementary Therapies

As mentioned before, drugs, surgeries, and lifestyle changes are traditional treatments. What most people don’t know are the different types of complementary therapies that include:

  • Natural remedies
  • Mind-body practices
  • Bodywork

Your integrative doctor might apply one or more of these complementary therapies to your overall treatment program.

Those living with complex illnesses might achieve better appetite, peace of mind, restful sleep, pain relief, etc., from integrative medicine.

Contact Your Healthcare Provider About Integrative Medicine

Your primary care doctor will provide you with traditional Western medicine treatment but you might need an additional provider for complementary therapy options.

If you have two different providers, keeping them in the loop is essential to integrative medicine. Letting your primary care provider know about the therapies you are receiving helps them tailor your treatment to keep you safe.

If you think integrative medicine can benefit you, contact your healthcare provider now. For more health articles like this, check out the other posts on our website.