Our providers are often asked how integrative medicine is different from traditional medicine. While integrative medicine differs from traditional medicine, it is used to effectively treat a variety of conditions and symptoms. We asked Dr. Harold Bowersox, DO, BCIM, FAAIM, to explain the differences:
What makes integrative medicine different from traditional medicine?
“Integrative medicine (IM) is different because it is oriented toward healing the total patient and not just treating symptoms with medicines that suppress the body’s expression of the disease process.”
Do most patients use integrative medicine routinely, or just for acute issues?
“Integrative Medicine really emphasizes the importance and centrality of the doctor-patient relationship. Physicians practicing IM try to take more time with patients, asking questions and getting to know them and their health concerns. And it’s critical for patients to be honest and open with the doctor to make the most out of these visits. Many providers work with patients for a long time and create strong relationships.”
What types of treatments are common in integrative medicine?
“IM combines both traditional and complementary therapies, which can include herbal medicine, biofeedback, stress reduction, acupuncture and other non-traditional treatments. The focus of treatment is to use the least invasive, least toxic and least costly methods to help the patient on the path to health and wellness.”
Why do integrative medicine providers look beyond a patient’s physical symptoms?
“Integrative medicine providers choose and adapt treatments based on an understanding of the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual aspects of the patient. Considering these factors in the healing process is vital because IM is based on the belief that the physician must care for the patient as a whole–mind, body and spirit–to get complete healing.”