What Are Some Examples of Integrative Medicine?

February 23, 2022

Integrative medicine is the marriage of conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine or CAM. Integrative approaches to medical treatment are growing in popularity thanks to the higher level of patient satisfaction and symptom reduction. At Medwin Family Medicine & Rehab in Houston, TX, and Brownsville, TX, we believe the integrative approach to medicine may be one of the routes to better health for all patients.

What Are Some Examples of Integrative Medicine?

The first element of integrative medicine is conventional medicine or Western medicine. Western medicine includes health interventions such as drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes like diet and exercise. Western medicine itself focuses on conditions rather than necessarily seeking to change the factors that influence or cause that condition. Although this can be effective for some conditions, other health conditions may benefit from complementary treatments such as those that are used in the integrative approach.

There are a few different methods for complementary and alternative medicine. Some of these approaches can include alternative medical systems, mind-body interventions, biologically-based treatments, body-based methods, and energy therapies. Any combination of these alternative medicine methods can be used in your treatment.

Alternative Medical Systems

Alternative medical systems refer to the more common forms of alternative medicine, particularly Oriental medicine. Some of the most common forms of alternative medical systems include acupuncture, homeopathy, and naturopathy. These alternative medicine practices have been used for centuries and can be just as effective for treating the symptoms of certain conditions as Western medicine. 
Because alternative Medical Systems such as Chinese medicine may include the use of herbs that can interact with Western medications, a physician needs to plan out any complementary treatments that will be used for your health care.

Mind-Body Interventions

Mind-body interventions refer to alternative medicine treatments that focus on the connection between the mind and the body, specifically the way the mind can control stressors in the body that lead to poor health. Several studies have found positive interactions between good mental health and good physical health. 

Some of the mind-body interventions that may be used for your treatment can include meditation, mindfulness, hypnosis, or biofeedback. Mind-body interventions are often used to support treatments related to stress, cardiovascular health, or chronic conditions caused by overactive immune systems such as psoriasis.

Body-Based Methods

Body-based methods are those that are centered around touch, which has been a proven method of healing since the very start of medical practices. Research suggests that healing by touch can increase blood flow to an area of injury, which can reduce inflammation and improve pain. Some of the most common body-based methods that are used can include chiropractic care, massage, physical therapy, yoga, or Tai Chi.

Body-based methods are typically used to support physical ailments related to the muscular system or the skeletal system of the body. Physical injuries such as tendonitis, arthritis, sprains, or other aches and pains are commonly treated with body-based methods in addition to Western medicine for pain relief.

Biologically-Based Treatments

Biologically-based treatments generally refer to methods that have a direct impact on the biological functions of your body. You can think of biologically-based treatments as being a similar method to Western biological medications, but the difference is that biologically-based treatments use herbs and modify the diet to support health.

Some methods that are used in biologically-based treatments can include dietary supplements and herbal medicine. Research shows that the diet and the overall biological health of the body can have a significant impact on certain health conditions. For example, research shows that good gut health supported by prebiotics and probiotics can have a great impact on mental health, digestion problems, and can even help control conditions such as diabetes.

Energy Therapies

Energy therapies can also be exceptionally effective at treating certain health conditions. Energy therapies usually refer to external energy that is applied to the body to encourage better blood circulation, reduce stress, or stimulate the cells in the body for better function. Some examples of energy therapies can include electromagnetic therapy, Reiki, or Qigong.

Why Should Medicine Be Integrated?

So, why should you consider the integrative approach to medicine? Although the majority of physicians like to use Western medicine to address health concerns, for some people the results of Western medicine may not be effective enough. With the integrative approach to medicine, alternative therapies can complement Western medicine and treat the patient as a whole. 

This means that both the symptoms of a condition and the root causes of the condition are treated at the same time. Alternative medicine uses methods that directly address the root causes of certain health concerns, specifically stress that may make conditions worse or information that may cause other conditions such as chronic pain.

Consider Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine is a philosophy that healthcare professionals may use to treat both the symptoms and causes of a health condition. This method combines conventional and alternative techniques to improve health. Some examples of integrative medicine can include using physical therapy to complement pain management practices. Contact us at Medwin Family Medicine & Rehab in Houston, TX, and Brownsville, TX to schedule your initial appointment today.

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