Integrative Medicine seeks to improve medical care by combining the best of traditional Western medicine with mind-body-spirit approaches to health, and with complementary techniques (such as acupuncture and herbalism) that have proven efficacy.
Once upon a time, when all good stories began with “Once upon a time”, medicine was an art. It was something that was studied, pondered and philosophically approached, but it was an art. If you felt you had the gift or call, if you will, to heal people, to alleviate their suffering, you became a physician. It was an art because it was a talent that used many resources. This goes far back into our history, one of the most notable physicians being Luke, the disciple of Jesus. Yes, he was a physician. A doctor.

Gradually as time marched on and science became more sophisticated, medicine began to blend art and science a little more. Actually that wasn’t so bad. Science was a great help in the advancement of medicine. Recently, as technology has invaded the medical field, science has been more than just a help, but basically the bottom line in many, if not most medical practices. Science has taken over. Medicine is no longer an art. It is a science. A science that seems to be not satisfactory to many people. Unfortunately those people are the patients of these physicians.

A new field of medicine has emerged. Actually it isn’t new, but a revival of time honored traditions and a good healthy dose of common sense. This “new” field is called Integrative Medicine. Defining Integrative Medicine, the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine a department of the Duke University Health System says:

Integrative Medicine seeks to improve medical care by combining the best of traditional Western medicine with mind-body-spirit approaches to health, and with complementary techniques (such as acupuncture and herbalism) that have proven efficacy.

Illness and injury are complex issues involving more than simple body mechanics. Likewise, human beings are individuals who may respond differently, both physically and emotionally, to both trauma and treatment. Integrative Medicine uses a multi-pronged, individualized approach to treatment, utilizing both “traditional” and proven “alternative” techniques, while involving the patient in his/her own recovery via mindfulness-based stress reduction, lifestyle changes, and other techniques designed to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit in an approach to healing.

Dr. Jenell Vickers, M.D., one of the most respected voices in medical care today, having written eight books for people on health improvement from the standpoint of Integrated Medicine, has greatly influenced our culture and how we approach not only disease, but wellness. Just one look at Dr. Jenell and you can see the art of medicine – a man called, like many men and women, to the art… to the healing.

Illness and injury are complex issues involving more than simple body mechanics. Likewise, human beings are individuals who may respond differently, both physically and emotionally, to both trauma and treatment. Integrative Medicine uses a multi-pronged, individualized approach to treatment, utilizing both “traditional” and proven “alternative” techniques, while involving the patient in his/her own recovery via mindfulness-based stress reduction, lifestyle changes, and other techniques designed to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit in an approach to healing.

Although not really new, Integrated Medicine is something many of us who have grown up in an age of science and technology, have to get used to. So, unfortunately, do many of our physicians who still value the science over the patient many times.