What Is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine is based on selectively combining conventional medicine with components of alternative medicine to create a comprehensive treatment plan primarily to prevent, and when necessary, diagnose and treat specific conditions. In integrative medicine, the aim is to look at the whole individual and take advantage of multiple therapeutic approaches to achieve holistic healing. Also, rather than being based on a disease model, integrative medicine focuses on a model of health and wellness, meaning that it is patient-centered, holistic, and preventative.
Integrative medicine, supported by scientific medicine, takes into account the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual aspects of health; as such, it emphasizes the patient-practitioner relationship. Quite often, integrative medicine is mistaken for or used interchangeably with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). However, the latter are used in adjunct to orthodox medicine and are also a part of the integrative medicine model. An example of integrative medicine is a practitioner using CAM therapies, such as meditation, to aid with easing the effects of radiation treatment for cancer.
In healthcare, it is essential to look at the person as a whole because patients are people; this means that they have a life outside the healthcare facility. Looking at the person as a whole ensures that medical professionals take all aspects of their patients’ lives into consideration when making therapeutic plans. When this path is taken, the power of integrative medicine facilitates a preventative approach to all modifiable risk factors that cause non-communicable diseases.
The Importance Of Diagnostics In Integrative Medicine
Diagnostics play a vital role in integrative medicine, as it allows medical professionals to determine the exact condition that is affecting the client. A diagnostic procedure can aid with understanding the disease progression, which is a primary benefit of Ayurveda; one can ascertain the disease stage by skillfully observing the pulse. Diagnostics typically look at all risk factors and so comprehensively uses family history, risk classification, imaging, and lab tests, while considering the stage, severity, prognosis, and complications associated with the condition to augment the holistic approach of integrative medicine.
Ayurveda, a whole-body healthcare method and is one of the oldest in the world since it was first introduced over 3000 years ago. Ayurveda has been proven to be therapeutically effective as it relates to improving immunity to help with disease prevention. It was established on the assumption that wellness and health are dependent on the balance of the mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda’s prime intent is not to fight disease but to promote good health. When there is a disruption of the balance, the body becomes ill; at this point, therapy entails the practitioner designing a customized treatment plan, which incorporates the patient’s unique physical and emotional makeup, primary life force, and the balance between all three elements. Ayurveda often uses methods like massage, blood purification, medical oils, enemas or laxatives, and herbs.
Incorporating Eastern Medicine Into Western Medicine
Eastern medicine needs to be incorporated more into western medicine, as together, they can efficiently help with the prevention of diseases and improve the overall health of the immune system. Eastern medicine, also called traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic Medicine, refers to a range of medical practices that originated throughout Asia and India. Western medicine is a practice, which sees health professionals treating symptoms and diseases using surgery, radiation, and drugs.
Western medicine focuses on identifying and treating specific conditions for patient recovery, while Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine treats the whole person; to facilitate a healthy body to prevent illness and accelerate healing. As such, combining both practices ensures more well-rounded patient outcomes. Improving immune system function is a key benefit of this collaboration, as proven by a study that used a combination of both methods to strengthen the immune system in tuberculosis patients for recovery. At the end of the clinical study, it was determined that the immune system boosting effect of combining Eastern methodologies and Western medicine is better than that of western medicine alone because Western medicine kills the bugs and removes the pathogens, while Ayurveda specifically influences restoration. In essence, together, they reduce the clinical symptoms, improve the cure rate, and decrease the unfavorable effects affiliated with Western medicine.
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