Integrative medicine combines complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practices with conventional medicine.
Under a holistic and individualized vision of healing, conventional medicine is integrated with other health sciences, thus creating the concept of integral medicine, which also incorporates the mind, body, spirit, and social context of the patient. The main focus is on the person rather than the disease.
Special techniques such as acupuncture, nutritional intervention, mind-body therapies, and holistic massages (1) are all part of the treatment offered in this practice. Different studies have shown the usefulness of integral medicine; the most recent ones demonstrated its usefulness in the management of chronic pain, post-stroke recovery, cancer, etc. (2,3,4,5).
While the benefits of integral medicine include improving the symptoms of various kinds of the disease, they are very tangible for cancer patients (6,7,8).
The combination of different health sciences leads to a better result in the management of health problems.
In integral medicine, the main focus is the person rather than the disease. After a medical evaluation that includes both clinical and nutritional histories, anthropometry, and a physical examination, a comprehensive medicine plan is carried out. This includes: a medical-nutritional plan, a medical supplementation plan, exercise recommendations, stress management, and other medical practices like acupuncture, Chinese medicine, orthomolecular medicine, massage therapy, etc.
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- Integrative medicine in America—How integrative medicine is being practiced in clinical centers across the United States. Horrigan B, Lewis S, Abrams DI, Pechura C. Glob Adv Health Med. 2012;1:18–52.
- Valuating integrative medicine acute stroke inpatient care in South Korea. Park M, Hunter J, Kwon S. Health Policy. 2018;122:373–379
- Cost savings from reducing pain through the delivery of integrative medicine program to hospitalized patients. Dusek JA, Griffin KH, Finch MD, Rivard RL, Watson D. J Altern Complement Med
- Integrative medicine and patient-centered care. Maizes V, Rakel D, Niemiec C. Explore. 2009;5:277–289
- The efficacy and cost effectiveness of integrative medicine: a review of the medical and corporate literature. Guarneri E, Horrigan BJ, Pechura CM. Explore. 2010;6:308–312
- Complementary therapies and integrative medicine in lung cancer: diagnosis and management of lung cancer. Deng GE, Rausch SM, Jones LW, et al. Chest. 2013;143:420–436
- Integrative medicine and the oncology patient: options and benefits. Armstrong K, Lanni T Jr, Anderson MM, Patricolo GE. Support Care Cancer. 2018;26:2267–2273.
- Evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for integrative oncology: complementary therapies and botanicals. Deng GE, Frenkel M, Cohen L, et al.
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