The Rise and Rise of Integrated Medicine
More and more doctors and other health care professionals are becoming disillusioned with purely “conventional” medicine, which focuses mainly on treating the symptoms of disease. Whole person, or integrated medicine, is enjoying ever increasing popularity, and ancient practices – such as yoga, acupuncture and nutritional counseling – are becoming far more common in modern medicine.
Correcting your body’s imbalances from a variety of different standpoints is becoming a popular strategy for the long-term management and treatment of chronic illnesses in particular. This approach is enjoying proven results, with long-lasting benefits and far fewer side effects from medications, invasive surgeries and exposure to X-rays.
What is Integrated Medicine?
The Chinese have an excellent model to illustrate the levels of medical intervention: Diet – Exercise – Massage – Herbs – Acupuncture – Poisons – Knife. Conventional medicine focuses heavily on the last two levels, namely drugs and surgery. Integrated medicine believes all treatment should start at the opposite end of the model – with dietary correction.
Integrated medicine stresses the importance of the relationship between patient and practitioner. It focuses on the whole person, examining lifestyle elements such as exercise, diet and stress levels. It also involves the patients themselves to a far greater degree than with conventional medicine.
As its name implies, integrated medicine combines modern medicine with other, proven practices from around the world. Many of these practices originate in non-Western cultures – Chinese medicine and acupuncture, for example, are being increasingly validated as legitimate medical disciplines. By taking the best aspects from all respected disciplines, integrated medicine is able to offer more effective ways to reduce stress, relieve suffering and increase resilience.
There are several core principles that define integrated medicine and separate it from conventional treatment regimes. These are:
- Integrated medicine is healing-oriented.
- All aspects of lifestyle are taken into account.
- Health promotion and illness prevention are key.
- Both conventional and alternative medical practices are used to maximise the body’s healing response.
- Interventions must be effective, but as natural and minimally invasive as possible.
- Objectivity is vital - conventional and alternative methods are analysed equally and no therapy is accepted or rejected out of hand.
Prevention is one of the most important aspects of the integrated medicine approach. By taking care of your body and mind, you can go a long way towards minimising the need for invasive, expensive and toxic medical interventions. Popular techniques include Traditional Chinese Medicine, lifestyle changes, manual medicine and mind-body therapies.
Dr Alain Sanua is a qualified Medical Doctor currently practicing Integrated Medicine and combining: Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Nutritional Advice, Mineral and Vitamin supplementation, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine. To read more about his holistic approach to medicine, visit www.homeopathjohannesburg.co.za.