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Integrative Medicine Provides a Holistic Approach to Health

Integrative medicine is defined as a combination of mainstream science-based medicine and Complementary and Alternative Medicine therapies to provide more opportunities for treatment and wellbeing. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there has been some scientific evidence pointing toward the safety and effectiveness of this type of practice when compared to traditional Western medicine.

The NCCAM basically explains integrative medicine as “cherry picking” the best validated therapies from both areas of medical practice, creating an emphasis on getting the patient better as opposed to focusing on which type of medicine is utilized to achieve that result. This healing-oriented practice of integrative medicine takes the whole person into account– mind, body, and spirit– and emphasizes the importance of well-being primarily, while still offering treatment options for patients who are already ill. There are some basic principles of holistic health and integrative medicine that help further explain what this method offers:

● This is a partnership between the patient and provider for the sake of healing
● The provider takes into consideration all factors that influence wellness and disease, including mind, body, spirit, and environment
● This is a philosophy that does not necessarily reject conventional medicine or accept alternative medicine, but combines the two uncritically.
● The use of natural and less-invasive procedures and treatments whenever possible
● The use of broader health concepts to promote wellbeing and prevent illness
● Training of providers can allow them to be models of total health and healing, committed to the processes of self development and exploration.
● Appropriate use of methods to facilitate healing, including both conventional and alternative medicine

Integrative medicine is particularly popular at teaching hospitals and medical academic institutions like Duke, Harvard, Yale, and even the Mayo Clinic. The focus on research is changing the face of medicine and helping drive the integrative care model into the future as the preferred method of treatment for many patients. There are a number of different therapies and treatments available from the naturopathic doctors that Phoenix AZ has to offer, as well as more than 30 years of experience in the holistic and integrative medicine fields.

Finding an Integrative Medicine Provider

There are a number of medical facilities that cater to holistic health and naturopathy. Phoenix is home to Longevity Medical Health Center, a facility that has been practicing in naturopathy for over three decades and that has been given awards for its research and treatment therapies. The clinic provides access to the most reputable naturopathic doctors Phoenix AZ has to offer, along with a variety of services and therapies for patients to choose from. Residents in the Phoenix area, as well as patients of Longevity that come from out of town, will offer insight and positive reviews of the services they have received by choosing integrative medicine at this particular clinic.

If you aren’t in the Phoenix area or even if you just want a few extra tips, make sure that you are looking for a naturopathic doctor that can provide you with the therapies and treatments that you need. Not all facilities work with integrative medicine, and no two clinics have the exact same list of procedures and therapy options. Get to know the provider, see what services they offer, and find out what they can do for you. This is designed to be a lifelong relationship, which is why finding the right naturopathic doctor in Phoenix AZ is so critical to your success with integrative medicine.

If you want to learn more about holistic wellness and integrative care or see what therapies and services are available to you, you can visit the website of Longevity Medical Health Center.

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What Is Integrative Medicine?

Dr. Weil explains the meaning of the term and what integrative medicine does for those who are looking for ways to stay healthy and live a long life.

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The Power of Natural Alternative Medicine – Part 1

The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human body, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”…Thomas Edison, 1902.

Health Care Options

We have many different options for healthcare today, but the focus will be on biologically based treatments and prevention. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines the scope of biologically based practices to include, but is not limited to, botanicals, animal-derived extracts, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, proteins, prebiotics and probiotics, whole diets, and functional foods.

But first, let’s take a look at the different philosophies of healthcare practiced today. Allopathic, alternative, complementary, integrative-what does it all mean? Each includes many different kinds of therapies, and although alternative, complementary and integrative are sometimes used interchangeably, the general focus of each is different.

Allopathic medicine focuses on disease and the treatment of the physical body with drugs and surgery. These are conventional physicians with the title of M.D. that are universally recognized as having a medical degree.

Alternative medicine includes those therapies not generally recommended by allopathic physicians. It includes Energy Medicine, Ethnomedicine, Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Homeopathic Medicine, Botanical or Herbal Medicine, Bio molecular Medicine, Manual Medicine, Spiritual Medicine.

Complementary medicine includes therapies used by both alternative and allopathic physicians. It includes Exercise Medicine, Environmental Medicine, Social Medicine, Nutritional Medicine.

Integrative medicine is the attempt to integrate the many philosophies of medicine, allopathic, complementary, and alternative, to treat the whole person, physical, emotional, spiritual, and intellectual.

People Must Choose a Type of Healthcare Provider

Many people are hesitant about trusting their healthcare to anyone other than an allopathic physician. But did you know that Naturopathic Medical Doctors are the only physicians who receive complete training in conventional medicine as well as natural medicine? Licensed Naturopathic medical doctors (N.M.D./N.D.) attend a four-year graduate level Naturopathic medical school where they are educated in all of the same basic sciences as a conventional M.D. In addition to this training, they are extensively educated in the philosophy and implementation of safe and effective natural therapeutics with a strong emphasis on disease prevention. Unfortunately, some states do not yet offer licensing for Naturopathic Doctors.

Allopathic physicians and pharmaceutical drugs are, and always will be, necessary for acute, emergency medical care and trauma, as well as for conditions that cannot be controlled with lifestyle changes, good nutrition and supplements. But many conditions can be prevented and controlled with lifestyle changes and biologically based medicine. Just as many pharmaceutical drugs can interact with other drugs, some biologically based supplements may interact with drugs and cause side effects, so a healthcare provider should always be consulted before adding supplements to the diet. In some cases, alternative therapy may actually have beneficial synergistic effects in conjunction with existing medical therapy, even when not feasible as a replacement.

Biologically based medicine is not new. It was practiced for thousands of years before pharmaceutical companies began manufacturing the first synthetic drugs. In addition, many of the pharmaceutical preparations used around the world are based on plants. As late as the 1930’s, the formulation of about 80% of synthetic pharmaceutical drugs began with a natural compound. Today, about 25% of prescription drugs contain active ingredients derived from plants.

The United States has the most advanced medical system in the world, yet the population is increasingly turning to natural healing methods. However, the U.S. still lags behind world stats. A survey of 31,000 U.S. adults conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2004 showed that 35 percent use some form of complementary and alternative medicine. Today, the World Health Organization estimates that herbal medicine is still the primary source of health care for approximately 80 percent of the world’s population.

Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. These diseases and other chronic diseases such as obesity, depression, metabolic and digestive disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, and fibroids, account for 7 of every 10 deaths and affect the quality of life of 90 million Americans. Chronic diseases are among the most prevalent and most costly, yet they are the most preventable.

Conventional physicians treat chronic diseases with expensive pharmaceuticals that may temporarily relieve the painful or uncomfortable symptoms, but the drugs do nothing to resolve the underlying cause, and may actually cause other side effects and serious problems. Because nutrition affects our immune system, organ function, hormonal balance and cellular metabolism, many of these chronic conditions and diseases can be traced to a nutrition deficiency. When the deficiency is not corrected, symptoms begin to appear and eventually lead to disease and premature aging.

Many pharmaceuticals can effectively be replaced with multi vitamin supplements, botanicals, amino acids, prebiotics and probiotics, fresh foods and functional foods for both prevention and treatment. Because herbs work synergistically, combinations of herbs with similar properties enhance the properties of each. This is why choosing a product containing a combination of different herbs is usually more effective than choosing individual selections. An example of this is the combination of valerian, passion flower and hops to promote relaxation and restful sleep. All three have a relaxing effect on the body. Valerian relaxes muscle tension, while hops relaxes the nervous system, and passiflora acts as a sedative. Popular alternative medicine company Melaleuca even offers a product called RestEZ that offers a supplement that contains all three natural sleep enhancers: valerian, passion flower and hops.

In part two of The Power of Natural Alternative Medicine we will discuss the regulation of nutritional supplements and little known history of natural medicine.

The Science and Art of Integrative Medicine

(Visit: http://www.uctv.tv/) Explore the research behind the science of integrative medicine with Dr. Kevin Barrows, UCSF Department of Family and Community Medicine and Medical Director, Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. Series: “UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine presents Mini Medical School for the Public” [11/2013] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 25721]
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