Diving into Integrative Medicine: An MD’s Journey Through Medical Unknowns

If you asked me five years ago what I thought about integrative medicine, I would have laughed at you, perhaps even scoffed. Integrative medicine? Come on. Don’t make me live through 4 years of my medical school training to prove to you what a joke integrative medicine is. A closer look at what it is would reveal a practice of medicine that is pure as it is holistic, sensible as it is functional, and finally patient-centered in the best way possible.

Integrative medicine as defined by Duke Integrative Medicine is an “approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental influences that affect a person’s health.” The core of this type of medicine is that the patient and the provider are partners in the health of the patient. And that excellent health is based on sound, evidence-based science. The mind, body, and spirit, and community are all by integrative medicine. Health promotion and prevention are paramount.

Ideally, one would have to take a closer look at allopathic medicine to see the gaps in care that exist. The patient is not always at the center of care; rather the patient gets muddled behind red tape and bureaucracy. It is laughable if it were not the mainstay of medicine in this country. Integrative medicine, on the other hand, bridges that gap. Provides continuity where there is none, and clarity when there is fog. So, without further adieu, I ask that you join me in exploring this type of medicine and understanding the
intricacies that make it laudable.

Integrative medicine as a whole is just that, whole –comprehensive, holistic medicine that takes into account several factors that determine the health and well-being of an individual. The patient and his health do not just exist in isolation or a vacuum. They exist in a continuum. We are a sum of our parts or rather our parts determine our well-being. Integrative medicine is without the frivolities that allopathic medicine can sometimes introduce. It is medicine beyond borders, beyond stigmas. The mind, body, and spirit exist as one and without one another we are not complete.

Lakshman NirmalwadComment