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“Health is more than having a body that works. Health includes the physical, emotional, intellectual, social and spiritual dimensions of life, which when working in harmony, lead to a sense of well-being and satisfaction with life”.
The above philosophical concept of health is being promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in recognition that our health is affected by not only the physical state of health but also mental, social and environmental contributors. To this end integrative medicine is a health care model which applies the best practices of conventional/allopathic medicine, complementary and alternative therapies, and lifestyle changes to restore balance to optimal health in all its dimensions.
Today’s practitioners are being taught to be patient and family-centered which focuses on a compassionate healing relationship between the healthcare provider, the patients and their caregivers. There are many colleges and universities that are training and graduating well trained registered practitioners of the healing arts to provide safe and effective evidence-based therapy to enhance the health and well-being of the population.
There are Cancer Centers and Hospitals where patients can receive cancer treatment combined with a holistic approach. This includes in addition to conventional medicines an integration of:
- Healthy diets, physical activity/exercise
- Support from family and friends but especially from a support group
In choosing an integrative medicine practitioner, do ensure that you will receive advice or coaching on:
- Modifying your behavior with respect to; diet, physical activity, smoking cessation and alcohol use.
- How to make the Mind, Body and Breath connections to support your healing.
- How to properly take supplements or herbs to enhance well-being.
- Possible drug interactions and how to avoid the same.
- Self-Management of minor ailments
The most important attribute is a practitioner who will know when to refer his or her patient for higher care should this become necessary. One will be more empowered by researching his illness and available therapies that may help him or her to have good medical outcome.
Once the individual has been adequately treated for a disease, ailment or condition, it is important to develop a Maintenance Program with a wellness practitioner that will sustain the improved health.