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What is Integrative Healthcare?

Integrative Healthcare is an approach to care that seeks to integrate the best of Western scientific medicine with a broader understanding of the nature of illness, healing and wellness. Easily incorporated by all medical specialties and professional disciplines, and by all health care systems, its use not only improves care for patients, it also enhances the cost-effectiveness of health care delivery for providers and payors.

A practical strategy, integrative medicine puts the patient at the center of the care and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. Treating the whole person addresses both the patient’s immediate needs as well as the effects of the long-term and complex interplay between a range of biological, behavioral, psychosocial and environmental influences are addressed. This process enhances the ability of individuals to not only get well, but most importantly, to stay well.

The defining principles of integrative medicine are:

  • The patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
  • All factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration.
  • The care addresses the whole person, including body, mind, and spirit in the context of community.
  • Providers use all appropriate healing sciences to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
  • Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive are used whenever possible.
  • Because good medicine is based in good science, integrative medicine is inquiry-driven and open to new models of care.
  • Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.
  • The care is individualized to best address the person’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances.
  • Practitioners of integrative medicine exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.
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