Integrative medicine is health care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the whole person: the physical body, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person's health.
This type of health care uses a personalized strategy, that considers the patient's unique conditions, needs and circumstances. Integrative medicine uses the best options from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and help people regain and maintain optimum health.
Definition: 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."
The defining principles of integrative medicine are:
The patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
All factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration, including body, mind, spirit and community.
Providers use all healing sciences, conventional and alternative, to facilitate the body's innate healing response.
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 in integrative medicine.
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.
In addition to addressing and handling the immediate health problem(s) as well as the deeper causes of the disease or illness, integrative medicine strategies also focus on prevention and foster the development of healthy behaviors and skills for effective self-care that patients can use throughout their lives.