Integrative Medicine is defined as follows:

Integrative Medicine is a healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person (body, mind and spirit), including all aspects of function and lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals and disciplines, in an evidence-based approach

The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) at the US National Institute of Health defines integrative medicine as:

It is a form of medicine which “combines mainstream medical therapies with CAM therapies that are based on scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness”.

The Consortium of Academic Centers for Integrative Medicine defines it as follows:

Integrative Medicine is medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals and disciplines (conventional and complementary) to achieve optimal health and healing.

Important principles of integrative medicine are:

Recognition that good medicine should be based on good science whilst being inquiry driven and open to new paradigms

Use of broader concepts of promotion of health and prevention of illness as well as treatment of disease

  • Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
  • Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including body, mind, spirit, nutrition, environment and community influences
  • A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically
  • Use of natural, less invasive interventions whenever possible
  • Training of practitioners to be role models of health and healing and committed to the process of self-exploration and self-development
  • A partnership between patient and practitioner in the process of healing

Simply put:

Integrative Medicine attempts to combine the very best of both conventional and CAM therapies to offer patients a comprehensive management plan that is designed specifically for them by a practitioner, who is cognizant of them as a human being within a larger context.

Chronic disease is often complex. Several modalities usually have to be employed to achieve good results. Drugs that can be used to reduce the symptoms are often ineffective and can cause more problems. An integrative approach in these situations can provide relief and support the body’s own innate healing response.

The symptoms of the disease are the messengers that alarm us of the imbalance or state of dis-ease. It is the signals that the Life Force or Vital Force (innate healing potential) sends out when threatened. If we ignore or eliminate the messenger the disease process is driven to a deeper level in the body. We can not cure chronic diseases by suppressing the symptoms.

True healing occurs when the person has regained a sense of health and vitality, without the continued need of medicine or supportive interventions.