INTEGRATIVE HEALTH BALANCES HEALING AND CURING

Integrative health is the pursuit of personal health and wellbeing foremost, while addressing disease as needed, with the support of a health team dedicated to all proven approaches – conventional, complementary and self-care.

Figure 1: What does integrative health look like? Integrative health is the coordinated delivery of evidence -based conventional medical care, complementary medicine and lifestyle for producing optimal health and wellbeing.

MANAGING CHRONIC DISEASE

The miracles of modern medicine, with all its success over the last 100 years appear to have met their match in chronic diseases. Our high-tech disease focused system defeats most acute conditions but it fails when applied to complex long-term conditions like chronic pain. Chronic pain is a multifaceted condition, not easily managed by a pill or procedure. The nature of pain requires it to be treated with a whole person approach like integrative health offers.

Research has repeatedly shown that even with full medical access and optimal medical treatments, a population’s health improves only by about 15 to 20 percent. The rest comes from lifestyle, environment, and the social and personal determinants of health.

Modern medicine, so powerful in making miracles around acute disease, is missing 80 percent of healing for chronic disease.

What patients need is an approach that bridges and coordinates treatments focused on a person’s biology and the rest of them; between drugs and self-care; between medical treatment and the social and environmental determinates of health; between attempts to cure and the patient’s ability to heal.

The current medical system is good at keeping people alive; but not at reducing suffering. We need a system that addresses both pathogenesis (disease processes) and salutogenesis (healing processes). An integrative approach to health is focused not just on stopping death and disease – but helping people thrive.

TAPPING INTO OUR OWN HEALING CAPACITY

Modern medicine’s obsession with technologies and techniques has obscured the healing processes of the human body. Within us, we each have an inherent healing capacity that when properly unleashed can produce remarkable recovery and wellbeing.

While many of these technologies are extremely valuable, this hyper-focus and the economic rewards driving them has largely squeezed out the essence of what medicine is all about – how to guide a person to healing, wholeness and wellbeing.

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