Six benefits of integrative medicine

Integrative medicine uses a holistic approach in caring for chronic health issues that aren’t easily managed by conventional treatments and medication. It combines your current treatment plan with complementary (alternative) therapies that work towards improving your overall health and wellness, while focusing on nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management. We spoke with Melinda Atienza, DO, who gave us some insights into the benefits of integrative medicine.

 

1. Offers natural, less invasive treatments

Prescription medications are often appropriate and necessary, however, for some patients, they may not be completely effective or have serious side effects. Integrative medicine offers natural approaches for addressing health and medical concerns, and it emphasizes less invasive treatments whenever possible. “I like to describe integrative medicine as a ‘marriage’ between conventional medicine and complementary (alternative) medicine,” says Dr. Atienza. “It blends traditional medicine with safe, evidence-based alternative medicine while reinforcing the body’s innate ability to heal itself.”

2. Improves your health and well-being

Integrative medicine places emphasis on promoting health and well-being as well as illness prevention through healthy living. It strives to prevent disease. This translates to fewer medications, visits to your doctor and hospitalizations.

3. Treats the person, not just the symptom or disease

Integrative medicine treats the whole person, not just the symptom or disease. It takes into consideration all factors that influence your health: Biological, behavioral, psychosocial and environmental. To be truly healthy requires not only physical, but also emotional, mental and spiritual well-being.

4. Addresses the root cause of disease

Integrative medicine supports optimal health because it addresses the root cause of disease. For example, it improves quality of life by addressing hormonal imbalances, seeks to improve immunity by addressing gut health and inflammation, improves nutritional status by evaluating for vitamin deficiencies and food sensitivities, and necessitates the elimination of toxic exposures. Improved mental health may also be achieved by addressing many of these same causes.

5. Focuses on you and your needs

Integrative medicine is medicine made especially for you. Care is centered around you and your needs. An integrative physician spends time and works in collaboration with you to consider all of the appropriate remedies. “It’s not just a pill for an ill,” states Dr. Atienza.

6. Incorporates Eastern medicine

Herbs and botanicals have been used medicinally for thousands of years in Eastern medicine, even before pharmaceuticals were invented. “I love that we’re going back full circle,” says Dr. Atienza. "I believe nature knows how to heal us.”

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