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Written by Dr. Georgia Tetlow, MD and Fatima Flynn MS

Integrative medicine is an approach to care that 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! Integrative medicine is grounded in the definition of health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
1. Integrative medicine seeks to restore and maintain health and wellness across
a person’s lifespan by understanding the patient’s unique set of circumstances
and addressing the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual
and environmental influences that affect health.

2.  Integrative medicine goes beyond the treatment of symptoms to address all
the causes of an illness. In doing so, the patient’s immediate health needs as
well as the effects of the long-term and complex interplay between biological,
behavioral, psychosocial and environmental influences are taken into account.

3. Integrative medicine is not the same as alternative medicine, which refers to
an approach to healing that is utilized in place of conventional therapies, or
complementary medicine, which refers to healing modalities that are used to
complement allopathic approaches. If the defining principles are applied, care
can be integrative regardless of which modalities are utilized.

The defining principles of integrative medicine are:

  • Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive are used whenever possible.
  • Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry driven
    and open to new paradigms.
  •  Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader
    concepts of health promotion and the prevention of
    illness are paramount.
  • The care is personalized to best address the individual’s
    unique conditions, needs and circumstances.
  • Practitioners of integrative medicine exemplify its
    principles and commit themselves to self-exploration
    and self-development.

Excerpted from http://bravewell.org/integrative_medicine/what_is_im/ on 6/14/17.