Integrative health care takes a multi-modality approach to achieve optimal health outcomes for patients. This combined approach aims to achieve a balance between art and science, theory and practice, mind and body, and prevention and cure. In this form of health care the Integrative Medicine Practitioner prioritises the importance of the therapeutic relationship between the practitioner and the patient.
An integrative health practitioner focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence and utilises all appropriate therapeutic approaches and health care professionals to achieve optimal health and wellbeing. The practice of integrative medicine is highly individualised and focuses on how medicine is practised, rather than emphasising one modality over another. Practitioners embrace a philosophy that adheres to certain principles, such as the BEECH principles:
B Balance between complementary aspects
E Empowerment and self-healing
E Evidence-based care supporting the concept ‘First, do no harm’
C Collaboration between practitioner and patient, and between different practitioners
H Holism and the recognition that health is multidimensional.
The Integrative health practitioner focuses on patient self-healing and empowerment through education and health promotion, to create an evidence-based and patient-centred care approach through a partnership model.
By adhering to the fundamental principle of primum non nocere or ‘First, do no harm’, the practitioner considers the best available evidence on safety and efficacy, and recognises that each person is an individual whose health involves physical, psychological, social, spiritual and environmental dimensions. Integrative medicine doctors also recognise that optimal healthcare requires a multidisciplinary approach, with each discipline having its defined strengths, weaknesses and limitations.
In addition to the use of disease-specific treatments, integrative medicine also incorporates general health-enhancing and supportive interventions to improve wellbeing. Practitioners often incorporate stress management techniques, such as meditation and relaxation training. Exercise programs are often included to improve physical activity, as well as dietary advice to improve nutritional status. Education is included to help the patient better understand their illness and health. All these interventions form the pillars of a holistic approach to healthcare and can be summarised by the SENSE approach:
S Stress management
S Social and spiritual interaction
If you would like to have an integrative health practitioner assist you on your health journey, book an initial consultation with Brad Parkinson today.
Australasian Integrative Medicine Association (AIMA) https://www.aima.net.au
Cohen, Lesley Braun and M. Herbs and Natural Supplements, 3rd Edition. Churchill Livingstone Australia, 2014-04-24. VitalBook file.
Jr., Joseph E. P., Michael Murray. Textbook of Natural Medicine, 4th Edition. Elsevier Health Sciences, 092012. VitalBook file.