Allopathic, alternative and integrative health care

integrative medicine

Integrative medicine is the usage of both conventional western medicine and alternative medicine methods. It’s about caring for the ‘whole person’.

One systemic problem I see in western society healthcare is when medical professionals only use allopathic (drugs and surgery) or ‘conventional western’ methods. But in fairness to our western-trained medical professionals, I understand the dilemma that they often do not have enough time to consider the ‘whole person’.

When faced with a health issue, some people have a mindset of ‘just give me a pill and I’ll be on my way’.  The problem with drugs and surgery is that they just address the symptom, not the underlying reason that the issue developed in the first place.

There is still a stigma around the terms alternative or complementary methods.  Partaking in things like acupuncture, herbs, massage therapy, nutrition, yoga, meditation, etc, is sometimes looked upon by skeptics as ‘oh, you like those alternative methods’.  Anyone who says that is ignorant about whole person care (I say ‘ignorant’ in a respectful way; meaning they just are not well-informed). Many of these methods were developed hundreds and thousands of years ago and were largely lost by western society in recent years.

A newer term is blossoming in the western world today. It’s called integrative medicine or health care.  Here is what integrative medicine is:

  • A practical strategy, integrative medicine puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health.
  • The patient is an informed and empowered partner and the medical professionals personalize their care to best address the individual’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances.
  • Emphasizes regaining health, prevention, health maintenance and early intervention, and utilizes all appropriate, evidenced-based and personalized therapeutic approaches.

One very important thing to understand is the integrative medicine does not dismiss conventional western medicine (ie, drugs and surgery), it works in conjunction with them.

I personally feel that conventional methods alone are a narrow-minded approach.  However, it does take time assemble various  professionals who can provide services whose approaches work well together.  What I’m noticing here in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, is that ‘integrative clinics’ are popping up all over town. This is a good thing, but there is no standard for what such a clinic would provide, so the patient needs to take control of their own approach to health care.

There is a wonderful integrative cancer care center in Vancouver, British Columbia, called Connect Health.  They treat the whole person from a root cause viewpoint.  A truly inspirational and amazing organization.

If you or a loved one is facing a health issue, do consider an integrative approach.

The reason I decided to write this post is in the hope that if you or a loved one is ever faced with a health issue or simply want to cultivate optimal health, you will consider an integrative approach rather than automatically succumbing to only western medicine drugs and surgery.

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8 thoughts on “Allopathic, alternative and integrative health care

  1. Pingback: Anticancer world » Blog Archive » Intergrative Health Care

  2. Saw the people from Inspire Health speak at the Dr. Rogers awards and they said they encouraged the patients to take charge and be very involved in their recovery, they said one of the biggest hurdles was to get people to be responsible for their recovery, surprising in a way.

    • Yes, that is what InspireHealth and integrative medicine is about. People having responsibility and fully participating in their health and recovery, as opposed to being told what to do and feeling helpless. It makes sense – who better than ourselves should be the ones to make decisions about our health and well-being. Taking suggestions from practitioners and making our own decisions.

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