By Jane Schantz, FNP
Integrative Medicine (IM) is a term that is becoming more familiar in American culture, but what does it mean? Simply put, it is the combination of mainstream (aka Western or allopathic) medicine with so-called “alternative therapies,” but the IM movement has a deeper, more comprehensive commitment than that. It seeks to provide holistic, individualized health care using the most appropriate of a wide variety of healing modalities, in collaboration with the patient. IM considers not only the physical and mental health, but also the emotional, spiritual, social and environmental health of the patient.
The IM movement is in its infancy. It has grown out of both consumer demand for more holistic therapies, and medical practitioners’ desire to move away from the 15-minute visit and an over-reliance on pharmaceutical therapies, to restore the healing in health care. The now-outdated term “Alternative Medicine” implicitly suggests treatments that are outside of the realm of Western Medicine (WM), a rejection of medical treatment, as well as WM’s rejection of alternative approaches to health care. This was appropriate at one time, as that was largely what was happening – patients hid their alternative practices from their medical providers for fear of being scolded or otherwise disrespected. This term was followed by “Complementary Medicine,” which reflected the effort to redefine the use of natural and other therapies as being compatible with WM, rather than exclusive of it. The current feeling in the IM movement is that we want a seamless integration of WM with practices such as acupuncture/Traditional Chinese Medicine, aromatherapy, flower essences, herbalism, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, nutritional medicine, reiki, etc.
By Stacey Weeks-Purdy
Do you find that you are grabbing an extra cup of coffee or a sugary snack every afternoon just to get through the day? Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if it were full of energy and vitality instead? What you eat may make the difference.
Everything that we put into our body affects how we feel; sometimes food increases our energy level and sometimes it decreases it. Eliminating, or at least decreasing, the foods that deplete our energy can be helpful. Think about what foods you depend on the most to get through the day. It could be that they are actually making you more tired.
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