What is integrative medicine?
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 (complementary and alternative medicine) therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.”
According to Dr. Weil, the world’s leading proponent of integrative medicine, it is defined as “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 defining principles of integrative medicine:
- Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
- All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including body, mind, spirit, and community.
- Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
- Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive are to be used whenever possible.
- A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.
- Recognition that good medicine is based on good science, inquiry-driven, and open to new paradigms.
- 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