Integrated medicine, or integrative medicine, is a personalised holistic approach to healthcare using the best of conventional medicine, complementary medicine and self help techniques for the treatment and prevention of illness.
It gives medical practitioners access to a whole range of techniques to focus on healing the whole person, recognising the links between mind, body and spirit and supporting the body’s self-healing potential. For the patients, it enables them to become proactive in the treatment and prevention of illness.
Integrated medicine is a compassionate, proactive approach to healthcare in which the patient and practitioner work as a team to:
- Consider all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including state of mind, nutrition, fitness, fulfilment, relationships, work and environment
- Combine the best of medicines – conventional, complementary and self-help – for the treatment and prevention of illness
- Use a multi-disciplinary approach, with the patient at the centre of their healthcare team
- Base the therapeutic relationship and any therapy and self-help proposed upon respect for the wishes, beliefs, needs and values of the patient so that the person is individually empowered in all aspects of their care and treatment
- Discover and then treat the causes and not just the symptoms of illness and work together to enhance the self-healing potential of the body, mind and spirit
- Establish positive health, from whatever starting point, through the adoption of healthy lifestyles and self-development approaches
- Promote sensitive care, good communication and respectful relationships through all the stages of life and challenges of illness, working creatively together to identify within the crisis of illness, the opportunity for positive change
Integrated medicine includes functional medicine, a growing movement in healthcare. It addresses the underlying causes of disease, using an analytical approach to measuring the metabolic functioning of organ and tissue function. It incorporates the latest in genetic science, systems biology and an understanding of how environmental and lifestyle factors influence the emergence and progression of disease. It is a science based, patient focused system of medicine fit for the 21st century.
Integrated medicine is also instrumental in reducing treatment costs and healthcare costs in general, owing to quicker recovery, reduced trauma of treatment and increased quality of life. Furthermore, doctors and medical professionals practising integrated medicine enjoy a high level of job satisfaction from which the patient also benefits.