The Promise of Integrative Medicine

Disillusioned by decades of disease-focused medicine, more medical doctors and patients are now shifting their focus to entire-particular person health. Historic practices (yoga), various therapies (acupuncture), and commonsense strategies (dietary counseling) are complementing standard treatments, expanding our notions of therapeutic — and leading the best way to higher effectively-being and vitality.

Barbara Wick at all times had a intestine feeling she’d get cancer – and when her younger sister died of breast cancer in 1996, Wick’s concerns turned even more concrete. So when she started feeling bloated and experiencing belly discomfort a few summers ago, she felt sure she knew the diagnosis. When she went to the doctor, her internist told her the symptoms had been probably nothing. Wick, sixty three, insisted on more testing.

Her gynecologist discovered ovarian cancer. “He told me it didn’t look superb,” says the Chicago-space resident. “I underwent a full hysterectomy and debulking (the removal of as much cancerous tissue as doable), and so they removed cancer cells from my stomach, too.”

After the surgical procedure, Wick’s oncologist began her on the everyday routine of chemotherapy. And then he did something that is a comparatively new growth in standard medicine: He referred her to an integrative medicine (IM) program. Under the care of Karen Koffler, MD, director of the IM program at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare (ENH) in Glenview, Ill., Wick started to meditate and follow yoga. On Koffler’s advice she made major modifications to her eating regimen, chopping sugar because it exacerbates inflammation, and increasing cruciferous vegetables known to help combat cancer. She additionally sought therapeutic massage therapy, which decreases stress and eases pain.

Nearly three years later, and 10 months after chemotherapy, Wick believes this integrative strategy – blending standard medical remedies with unconventional therapies – has been important to her healing.

Wick isn’t alone: Thirty-six p.c of Individuals used some form of complementary and alternative therapies in 2002, in accordance with a nationwide government survey. Rising healthcare costs – mixed with frustration and disappointment concerning the limitations of standard medicine – are driving many to explore complementary, alternative and integrative solutions they could have previously overlooked.

What Is Integrative Medicine?

Complementary? Different? It’s tempting to lump everything outside of mainstream medical care into one huge heap, but the terms describing these new options for healthcare aren’t interchangeable. The Nationwide center for integrative medicine for Complementary and Different Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, provides these definitions:

Complementary and Different Medicine (CAM) is a group of numerous medical and healthcare techniques, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of typical medicine. Therapies encompassed by CAM include things like acupuncture, diet, chiropractic, herbs, bodywork, yoga, qigong and aromatherapy.