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You are here : home > Alternative Healing > Related Articles For Alternative Healing > What is integrative medicine?

What is integrative medicine?

Alternative healing techniques are often combined with allopathic treatments. Learn more about this practice. Read on to understand about the core of integrative medicines.

Alternative healing practices have gained prominence over the years. Many people swear by them and claim they are highly effective. On the other hand, another section is strongly against alternative healing and believes that only allopathic medicine works. People's opinions are largely influenced by their medical practitioners. Therefore, if your doctor was against alternative healing, you probably felt the same way.

Today, doctors are waking up to the benefits of using varied treatment options. Consequently, 
alternative healing techniques are combined with medication to alleviate symptoms and cure patients. This has resulted in a new field of medicine called integrative medicine.

Alternative healing as complementary medicine

Alternative healing is a general term for those healing techniques that differ from conventional medical practices. After scientific research and experiments, conventional allopathic medical practitioners may accept an alternative healing technique. In alternative medicine, an individual will visit a healing practitioner instead of a regular doctor.

When alternative healing is used in tandem with conventional treatment, the alternative technique is known as complementary medicine. For example, a doctor may prescribe massage therapy sessions along with medication to treat an ailment.

Integrating different streams into one

Integrative medicine has evolved largely because of the popularity of alternative healing. Virtually all individuals will try some natural healing therapy if they are unwell. However, the alternative and conventional treatments could clash and the patient may wind up feeling worse instead of better. To minimise the chances of this happening, it makes sense for a conventional doctor to suggest an alternative healing therapy along with the medication he prescribes.

Another reason is education. Until a decade or two earlier, doctors were reluctant to consider alternative healing because they did not understand these practices. In the last few years, information about alternative medicine has become part of medical studies. Newer doctors understand the principles of alternative techniques of healing and are more comfortable applying the same principles to conventional medicine.

Basic principles of integrative medicine

Alternative and complementary healing is based on certain principles. While some of these principles are similar to conventional ones, others are quite different. Consequently, the principles of integrative medicine too are varied. Here are some of them:

  • Prevention: The first step to achieving good health is to not fall ill. Both alternative and conventional treatments focus on this fact. The focus is on a good diet and regular exercise to achieve a healthy body. In conventional medicine, a further step is to encourage regular checkups to screen for diseases.

  • Healing: Alternative healing works on the belief that the human body is capable of healing itself through natural means. The alternative treatment encourages or stimulates the body to begin the natural healing process. Similarly, doctors of allopathic medicine will often allow minor infections to take their course and be dealt with solely by the body's immune system.

  • Practitioners as teachers: In conventional medicine, the doctor is the healer. He figures out a way to treat your ailments. On the other hand, the alternative healing practitioner sees herself as a teacher. She is only showing your body the way to heal itself.

  • Treatment of the whole: This principle is unique to alternative healing practices. All alternative healing disciplines believe that true healing depends on the body's natural balance. Therefore, treatment works towards achieving harmony between the physical, emotional, and spiritual sides of an individual.
Integrative medicine should not be attempted without consulting your doctor first. If you wish to try an alternative healing therapy, you must ensure that it is safe to pursue along with your current treatment.

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