What is Integrative Health? Good question. There are so many different terms that are thrown around so let’s break it down and make it simple!
Traditional or Allopathic Medicine
Traditional or allopathic medicine is what our current healthcare system is based on. The patient sees a traditionally trained health care professional who evaluates and prescribes drugs based on labs and symptoms. You get a limited amount of time with your healthcare provider and the focus is mostly on disease and medication.
Integrative health combines traditional or allopathic medicine with many other approaches to health to create a personalized health plan that is tailored to each individual person. By focusing on dis-ease (unbalanced systems within the body) instead of disease, we are able to balance the body to relief symptoms and promote wellness.
Let’s take a deeper dive into the different elements of Integrative Health.
Ayurvedic medicine is one of the world’s oldest medical systems that originated in India and is still practiced there today. Ayurveda is based on ancient writings of natural healing to physical and mental health. The term Ayurveda is derived from the Sanskrit words of ayur (life) and veda (science or knowledge), thus Ayurveda translates to knowledge of life. The ultimate goal of Ayurveda is to regain balance between body, mind, spirit and environment through natural interventions and lifestyle changes. Ayurvedic treatments are based on 3 different body types, or doshas, including Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Each type has it’s unique attributes and requires different types of interventions.
Functional medicine determines how and why illness occur and restores health by addressing the root cause of disease for each individual. This approach to medicine is individualized, patient-centered and science-based and focuses on empowering patients and practitioners to work together to address underlying causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. Functional medicine believes that a diagnosis can be the result of more than one cause, and one cause or symptom can lead to many diagnoses. Functional medicine lab tests have become an integral part of many alternative medicine approaches.
Orthomolecular medicine is the science of vitamins and minerals as medicine. The goal of orthomolecular medicine is to restore the body’s optimal environment by correcting imbalances or deficiencies based on individual biochemistry by using natural substances such as vitamins, minerals, trace elements and amino acids.
Vitamins, minerals and other supplements come in many forms. For example, vitamin B12 comes in 4 different forms, methylcobalamin, cyanocobalamin, hydroxocobalamin and adenosylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the most popular form found in many OTC supplements because it is synthetic and the cheapest to make. However, it’s not nearly as effective as methylcobalamin which is the most active kind of vitamin B12.
Think all vitamins are made the same? WRONG. Believe it or not, vitamins and other supplements are not heavily regulated by the FDA. It is extremely important to invest in a quality product that is from a reputable company and is third party tested. Not sure where to start? Check out my Shop page for ideas on where to buy good quality products.
Traditional Naturopathy is a system of healthcare that relies on natural modalities to help stimulate and maintain the body’s self-healing process. Naturopathy does not believe in drugs or surgery, but rather depends on education on naturopathic modalities including food, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, botanical substances, therapeutic oils, homeopathic preparations, air, water, heat, cold, sound, light, magnetic therapy and non-manipulative bodywork.
Chinese Medicine and Herbalism
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is thousands of years old and seeks to restore balance within the body and external elements. TCM is based on the concept that a vital force of life, called Qi, surges through the body. Any imbalance to Qi can cause diseases and illness. This imbalance is most commonly thought to be caused by an alteration in opposite forces that make up Qi, called yin and yang. Acupuncture, tai chi, cupping and qigong are some of the more popular treatment modalities that are a part of TCM
Herbalism is one of the oldest forms of healthcare that dates back over 60,000 years and relies on different preparations of herbal products to help support the healing functions of the body. It is the basis for the traditional medicine that we practice today and some prescription drugs have a basis in herbal medicine, including aspirin and digoxin. Herbalism is an integral part of many other approaches to health including TCM and Ayurveda.
Bioregulatory medicine is a personalized medicine which tailors medical treatment to the patient’s individual characteristics and needs. Bioregulatory medicine gets to the root cause of a problem and uses a combination of natural modalities to bring the body back to homeostasis and allow it to heal itself. By looking at each individual’s biochemistry, a customized plan is made to create long-lasting well being- physically, mentally and emotionally.
The wonderful thing about Integrative Health is it combines the best of each of these modalities to create a personalized health plan based on your individual needs. What health area are you interested in learning more about?