Most people have heard the terms “complementary medicine,” “alternative medicine,” and “integrative medicine.” What do they all mean? For one, “complementary medicine” and “integrative medicine” are different ways to refer to the same thing. These terms refer to medicine outside of the mainstream, or Western, medicine. Integrative medicine works together with traditional medicine. On the other hand, “alternative medicine” uses an approach that is non-mainstream and in place of conventional medicine.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that alternative medicine is a diverse group of health care and medical systems, practices and products that are not usually used in conventional medicine. They are medicines and practices that have not been proven by science to be effective and are based mostly on anecdotal evidence or rather, word of mouth.
Alternative medicine is widely based on the use of herbs, other natural elements, body manipulation and the use of the mind as a component that can be used to prevent and cure illness. These methods have been used for centuries in traditional medicine, such as that used by the Chinese.
Acupuncture, chiropractic and massage are often considered alternative medical procedures, as there is no scientific evidence that they are effective. However, conventional medicine is beginning to see these as effective, and they are becoming accepted as more mainstream. In fact, many alternative treatments and medications once considered alternative are now considered mainstream. In fact, many traditional medicines have led to the discovery of conventional medicines.
The use of herbs, spices and other natural ingredients, such as St. John’s Wort for depression, Echinacea for boosting immunity, and ginger for pain and nausea, have been used by millions and have been found helpful. However, the use of foods as curatives has been controversial. Although good nutrition is important to health, the idea that one or two particular foods can cure an illness is not accepted.
Osteopathy, is a non-invasive, drug-free, manual practice that focuses on creating health and well being through the musculoskeletal framework by using manual manipulation that affects the nervous system and lymphatic system.
In general, alternative therapy is the use of natural substances and non-invasive methods to deal with illness, whether it is lack of sleep, skin disorders, or cancer. True alternative medicine is not widely used.
Integrative medicine is a combination of alternative and conventional medicine. Mind and body wellness, natural substances and Western medicine are used together to obtain optimal health and disease control. It is also sometimes referred to as holistic medicine. This type of health care combines Western medicine with the use of natural remedies, plus the advocacy of mind-body wellness.
Over the past decade, the use of integrative medicine has become more widespread and accepted by medical professionals and the general public.
Natural products sold as dietary supplements such as herbs (botanicals), vitamins, minerals and probiotics are becoming more accepted by mainstream medicine and are now often prescribed as part of a physician’s instructions to a patient.
Fish oil/omega 3 is a supplement often suggested for use in combination with medication for heart disease and high cholesterol. Probiotics are now often suggested for the treatment of mild intestinal disorders.
Integrative medicine strives to include the best that science can provide, while at the same time, using natural and non-invasive methods to treat illness.
Nutrition is seen as a great part in achieving health and wellness. A diet that meets the nutritional needs of the body can help to maintain health and provide an excellent platform for fighting disease. Exercise such as Tai Chi and yoga are often recommended because of the benefits they provide to the body, as well as the calming, positive effects they have on the mind. Meditation can also be useful for focusing and relaxing the mind.
Obtaining a healthy mind and body are seen as an integral part of integrative medicine. A healthy mind and positive attitude toward life can have a great effect upon the body and how one feels.
Before you begin on any medical journey, make sure you talk with your physician and provide all of your medical information so that he/she can recommend the best course of action for you. Dr. Bordenave is located in Coral Gables and is happy to serve the south Florida area, including Miami and West Palm Beach. Give us a call at 305 446-2444 to schedule an appointment.
Published by Axiom Health Care Marketing