Everything You Need to Know About Integrative Medicine
Everyone is familiar with the routine of a doctor’s office. Being shuffled through waiting rooms, seeing the doctor for a few minutes while he checks your chart and asks a few questions, getting a prescription and going home. For some people, this works. They get relief from symptoms and feel satisfied with their care.
For others, though, this quick approach to healthcare just doesn’t cut it. If you have chronic issues or unexplained symptoms, a common prescription might not solve your problem. You might be looking for someone to look at you and see the whole picture instead of a list of symptoms that doesn’t easily fit into a diagnosis. That’s why many people in this situation choose integrative medicine.
What is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine is a type of healthcare that focuses on the whole person. It takes into account all of your symptoms and the possible causes to get to the root of your problems. Doctors in this field use a combination of conventional and drugless techniques to heal their clients.
To better understand how integrative medicine relates to conventional techniques, you can imagine the medical field as a spectrum. On one side is the conventional model—M.D.s with prescription pads doling out ten-minute sessions—and on the other is the holistic and natural-minded approaches that are focused more on lifestyle adjustments than medication. Integrative medicine fits right in the middle.
Integrative doctors take an evidence-based approach to healing. They use a combination of therapeutic treatments, lifestyle adjustments, and prescription medications to yield the best results for their patients. Their focus is on addressing your complaints, teaching you how to support your body, and creating a patient-provider relationship that makes you confident in your healthcare.
One benefit of choosing integrative medicine is that the doctors aren’t tied to treatment plans that fit just one side of the “medical spectrum.” Instead, they can create combinations tailored to your specific needs. If you need fast pain relief, they can use a quick-acting medication now and come up with a long-term treatment plan that will resolve the cause of the problem.
Although the treatment methods might vary, seeing an integrative medicine doctor will feel similar to your regular M.D. appointments. You’ll still enjoy the atmosphere of a professional medical office, but with a little more attention from your doctor than you might be used to.
At Ethos, we care about having good conversations with our patients. The goal of integrative medicine is for patients to be engaged in their care. To accomplish this, integrative doctors, like us, take time to get to know each patient and understand the issues they’re struggling with. This helps doctors decide on a realistic treatment plan that will lead to long-term results that fit with a patient’s lifestyle and goals. The attention that integrative medicine gives to understanding the whole person and posing a combination approach of medical techniques is a viable strategy to address chronic illness and restore people’s health without invasive techniques.
What “Being Integrative” Means for Our Team at Ethos
Being integrative means that we’re not limited to one strategy in caring for our patients. We see the whole picture and effectively use a spectrum of both allopathic and natural options to help you reach your health goals. Sometimes it requires thinking outside the conventional box. Other times it’s a simple answer. Either way, we have an entire toolset to get both short and long-term results for our patients. Our doctors are open minded and results focused. We’re able to bridge that gap in medical solutions and create a personalized treatment plan that’s safe, effective, and works.
Why People Choose Integrative Medicine
They Want Someone to Listen
Conventional doctors often work in bustling practices with rooms full of patients all waiting to be seen. This often means they don’t have time to listen to people with complex issues. They have an ear out for obvious symptoms and diagnose a cause quickly so they can move on to the next person.
But if you’re struggling with something complex, a ten-minute visit with a doctor who’s not paying close attention can be frustrating. You’ve probably been told before that you’re fine, your tests are all normal, and there’s nothing wrong with you. Except you still don’t feel like the best version of yourself.
People in this situation often turn to integrative medicine in the pursuit of real answers. They need someone who can take the time to listen to their struggles and investigate the problem. They need practitioners who can think outside the box and look at the whole picture, instead of trying to match their symptoms with an insurance code.
Integrative medicine doctors can give you the time and attention you need to get to the root of your problems and find a long-term plan to bring you to optimal health.
No “Hand on the Door” Syndrome
In those quick visits with conventional physicians, it can often feel like they can’t wait to leave you with a prescription and walk right back out the door. They’re often faced with an overwhelming number of patients a day and are trying to make it to everyone. But it can leave you with unanswered questions and negative feelings. This is what we call “hand on the door” syndrome.
Integrative doctors typically spend 3-5 more times with each patient than conventional doctors. Where a normal doctor’s appointment might give you 15 minutes of facetime, an integrative appointment could give you an entire hour with your physician. Your integrative doctor wants to get to know you and truly understand your symptoms so they have the best chance of helping you. This provides you the time and comfort you need to thoroughly outline your situation and work with your doctor to find a potential solution.
A Compassionate Approach to Healing
The conventional model of medicine needs all patients to fit into a predesigned box. Heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, these are all things that can be quantified. In conventional medicine, there’s a saying: “If you can’t measure it, it does not exist.” So if your health problems fall outside of those boxes, then you’re out of luck.
After being told they’re fine despite their symptoms, people often turn to integrative medicine for a compassionate approach to healing. They need someone who will listen to them, believe them, and think outside of the box. Integrative doctors take the whole picture into account, and so can more easily diagnose less common issues or find meaningful paths to better health. They understand that even if they can’t measure your illness, you still want to feel better than you do now.
Most conventional doctors operate by handing out prescriptions to treat an immediate complaint, but this might only mask symptoms. Integrative medicine focuses on finding the cause of the problem and treating that instead. It can give patients long-term results and restore their health in a more comprehensive way.
Another benefit is that integrative medical treatments are often less invasive than conventional methods, such as surgery. This means you don’t have to stop your life or take off work to resolve your issues. You can heal your body at your own pace, which reduces recovery time post-treatment and supports long-term results. Integrative doctors have the option of combining drugs with their therapies if that’s the best plan for their patients, but overall they use mostly drugless treatments for healing.
Because integrative doctors are also medical doctors, they can also help to guide you on when more invasive or conventional treatments are necessary to keep you well. They specialize in finding the balance between both methods to keep you healthy and get you the best possible results.
Education About Health Issues
There are even some people who find integrative medicine when they need help understanding their care plan. Maybe a conventional doctor has diagnosed them with diabetes or high cholesterol and told them to start a special diet and change their lifestyle. But these people are often left wondering, “How?”
Conditions that can be easily managed with lifestyle changes can still feel overwhelming if you weren’t taught why those changes will make a difference. Because integrative medicine is focused on the relationship between practitioners and patients, doctors in this field take the extra time to explain a condition and how the treatment plan will work. After you’re comfortable with making the change, they’ll be your partner throughout the process and help you to make adjustments where necessary.
When you’re armed with knowledge about your condition, you can better approach your own path to health and support your body as it needs.
Integrative medicine is a comprehensive approach to health. At Ethos, our practitioners are focused on our patient’s wellbeing, health, and lifestyle goals. With specialties in female and male hormones, aesthetics, sports medicine, GI health, autoimmune conditions, and prostate health, our doctors have the unique ability to combine conventional and therapeutic medical practices to offer practical and tailored care to each and every individual.
So if you’re looking for a partner in healthcare, consider integrative medicine. You’ll receive the attention you need and the help you’ve been looking for to address your unique problems and find long-term solutions.
Our team at Ethos Integrative Medicine will help you to feel great, look great, and stay active. Schedule your consultation today to see how we can help you achieve optimal wellness.