Integrative medicine

Healthy living for mind – body and spirit.

What is Integrative medicine?

It is a healthy combination of utilizing both alternative and conventional methods within our medical field.

Physicians work with individuals to establish a healthy lifestyle that will strengthen the body by proper nutrition and physical fitness as well as work with the mind and spirit to coach individuals on stress management skills, and spiritual wholeness.

Conventional medicine – although most doctor visits are covered by our traditional health insurance plans, they only cover instances when a health issue arises, when the body is already in distress. Using this as a singular method of treatment is costly to your health as the damage has already been done to various cells and tissues in your body.

Integrative medicine – although not covered by the typical insurance plans is a proactive and preventative approach. The idea being that if you prevent the illness from occurring by making lifestyle changes it not only saves you and your insurance companies money but it prevents you from contracting a sickness that could ultimately lead to a more serious problem as well as the immediate damage caused to bodily cells and tissue from the onset of illness.

One of my favorite preventative maintenance measures that I personally use is 100% pure therapeutic essential oils. In humans, they provide support for every system in the body; your skeletal system, your muscular system, circulatory system, endocrine system and your hormones, respiratory system, immune system and much more.

Making positive changes in your life include making sure that you take the time that both your body and mind need to relax.

There are many chronic health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and obesity that are largely preventable and even reversible by making positive changes in personal behaviors.

Three quarters of Americans experience symptoms related to stress in a given month:

77% experience physical symptoms
73% experience psychological symptoms

Physical symptoms of stress include:
fatigue (51%)
headache (44%)
upset stomach (34%)
muscle tension (30%)
change in appetite (23%)
teeth grinding (17%)
change in sex drive (15%)
feeling dizzy (13%)

Psychological effects of stress include:
experiencing irritability or anger (50%)
feeling nervous (45%)
lack of energy (45%)
feeling as though you could cry (35%)
About half of Americans (48%) report lying awake at night due to stress.

Source: American Psychological Association study, 2007.

The four most prevalent evils are a lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption.

Because changing one’s lifestyle is not always easy, integrative medicine health care providers have developed interventions that help people make the needed changes. In addition to formal lifestyle change programs, health and lifestyle coaches have proven to be a successful strategy. These coaches help people clarify their health goals, and change destructive behaviors, lifestyles and attitudes.

Effective integrative approaches to pain management use a combination of dietary modifications, herbs and supplements. These approaches are often used in primary care settings in the treatment of women’s health conditions such as menopause.

The knowledge of natural herbs and remedies become the focus such as the use of ground flax seeds sprinkled on cereal, salads, oatmeal, or mixed in while cooking foods which can help reduce the effects of hot flashes.

man on bench

Exercise, yoga, mind-body therapies, massage, and acupuncture, are practiced as a useful intervention for pain. Learning to stop and enjoy your surroundings give you time to rejuvenate and release any built up tension that can also tense muscles and amplify pain.

The INTERHEART study followed 30,000 men and women on six continents in 2004 and found that changing their lifestyle could prevent at least 90% of all heart disease. “Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): Case-Control study,”

Although the effects of such studies have got the attention of quite a few insurance companies it may still be some time before this practice is supported by their own tests and statistics to encourage the inclusion for covered integrative medicine doctors visits. The practices and principles of integrative medicine have the potential to transform health care, improve the health care system, reduce costs and produce a much healthier nation. Until then integrative medicine should peak a high interest for those seeking to improve their health and make permanent lifestyle changes Before they encounter any serious illnesses.