What is integrative medicine? 4 examples
Integrative medicine is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between the patient and the healthcare professional. This practice focuses on the person as a whole, informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, with health professionals and disciplines to achieve the best in health and healing.
Integrative medicine privileges the link between doctor and patient for the maintenance of good health. It starts by placing the patient as the main actor in the process, as his own health agent.
The patient no longer passively receives treatment for an illness and becomes actively involved in their own health, because in integrative medicine, health is also an individual responsibility. Integrative medicine brings together professionals from different areas and backgrounds, arguing that interdisciplinarity is essential to take care of individuals.
Associated with the treatment of conventional medicine, integrative medicine uses the knowledge of traditional medicines, such as meditative practices, breathing techniques, relaxation, mindfulness, use of herbal medicines. Everything based on evidences, safety and efficacy.
Benefits of the most common integrative medicine treatments
Originating in ancient China, acupuncture seeks to promote relief from chronic pain through needles implanted at specific points that refer each to an organ or a part of the body.
There are over 300 different points spread all over our bodies. When stimulated, they release analgesic substances, called endorphins. The main indications for use of this integrative medicine are, mainly, back pain, headache, anxiety, depression and insomnia.
2. Music therapy
Our brain can alternate waves through musical stimulus, activating some important areas of our grey matter, such as the hypothalamus, which controls appetite and mood swings, and the hippocampus, which accounts for recent memory.
Music therapy began to be part of medicine in the 1960s, but it has been increasingly used ever since. It’s an integrative medicine indicated for acute and chronic pain, depression and autism.
One of the most common integrative medicine treatments, homeopathy is a direct alternative to allopathic medicine. Through droplets or periodic pills, it promotes the treatment of the disease, not the symptoms, in the medium and long term.
Homeopathy can also be used in conjunction with traditional medicine for faster results. It’s well-recommended for respiratory and allergic diseases.
Created by a Buddhist monk, Reiki aims to channel energy to promote a sense of healing and well-being in the most diverse areas of the body. It aims to activate the immune system and helps treating infectious diseases. Perhaps, it’s still being studied to prove its effectiveness scientifically.
Some studies still question the placebo effect that alternative therapies may have on patients, but others prove the effectiveness of these practices. The placebo effect would be responsible for the improvement of patients who, believing that the treatment would work, would actually eradicate the symptoms.
Even working only the mind would be a gain anyway. However, for science, everything must always be very well proven and the tendency is that increasingly alternative therapies can be certified for their effectiveness. Improvement of techniques and scientific approval only benefits integrative medicine and its patients.
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