Integrative Medicine is an approach to diagnosis and treatment to medical care using the best of modern medicine, and traditional time proven holistic medicine practices used by other cultures. Integrative Medicine is not a specialty such as surgery, cardiology, oncology, psychiatry or orthopedics. Integrative Medicine emphasizes the importance of bringing the patient and holistic physician together to work as a team to optimize your well being. It is a holistic approach focusing on the whole person, as an integrated body of systems, combined with the mind and spirit. Integrative Medicine is a holistic medicine model that can be applied to all specialties of medicine.
In the US today we are blessed to have available powerful tools for diagnosing diseases. High tech tools such as CT (cat) scans, MRI's, PET scans, X-Rays, Ultrasounds, etc. as well as new advances in laboratory testing are invaluable in the process of disease diagnostics. However, our modern system fails to recognize the value of time proven procedures and techniques that have been used for centuries by many cultures, and often puts a low priority on input from the patient. So often the mentality is that the doctor knows best and the patient knows little to nothing. When I was in Medical training as a D.O., I remember one of my mentors saying "if you listen to your patient carefully enough, they will tell you what's wrong with them". While this is an over simplification, there is lots of truth in that statement. Integrative medicine combines the best of modern diagnostic techniques with time proven techniques, and integrates them both with a working relationship with the patient. This partnership between the physician and patient is the basis of Integrative medicine.
Again, modern medicine has made large contributions in treating diseases. Discoveries of drugs have saved numerous lives. For example, antibiotics such as penicillin were considered a miracle cure for infectious diseases when it was discovered in 1928 by Alexander Fleming. Many modern drugs do have their place. The difficulty is that many providers have come to rely only on these modern drugs, and ignore time proven remedies such as herbs, oils, vitamin and mineral supplementation, homeopathic remedies, and yes even foods. Here at Chelation Medical Center, Doctor Psonak, a holistic doctor brings together the best of both worlds with treatments with supplements, both oral and intravenous, as well as lots of time educating our patients about proper diet, nutrition, and environmental factors for overall good health.
Two problems with a modern day "diagnosis":
Today's health care system is designed around a model based on disease, and illnesses of systems of the body. The problem with this concept is twofold:
First: an illness is not usually recognized until it has exhibited itself with abnormal lab values, diagnostic procedures such as scans, MRI's, etc. A "diagnosis" is determined, and treatment is proposed based on those findings, and according to the "standard of care" for that diagnosis. In reality, most diseases start years or decades before laboratory values become abnormal or before symptoms appear. We place emphasis on tests that can determine predisposition to disease and tests that aid in determining a pre-disease state.
Second: a diagnosis today is coded into a numbering system called ICD codes which places a patient into a box many times ignoring or at least setting aside other factors and symptoms that could be very important in their health and well being.
An Integrative Medicine approach is a superior holistic model for anyone looking to improve and maintain their health and quality of life.