Integrative medicine (IM) combines alternative methods of health care with conventional methods, providing the patient with a larger set of best practice choices to fit needs and conditions. Integrative practices may be based on ancient wisdom; supernatural ideas; use of herbs; the body’s own healing mechanisms; alternative healing techniques such as acupuncture, mindfulness techniques, diets, or movement; and guided therapies. Complementary medicine (CM), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrated medicine or alternative medicine (AM), and holistic medicine are among many alternate names used. It is also often considered synonymous with functional medicine.
We need to reduce our emphasis on disease management and emphasize health promotion instead. How much more desirable—and less expensive—it would be to prevent diabetes and heart disease, rather than to have to treat those diseases and their myriad complications.—Andrew Weil
A marriage of conventional Western medicine with other healing modalities, including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrative medicine (IM) neither rejects conventional medicine nor uncritically embraces alternative therapies.
On a blustery Friday night in 2009, I received a call from my doctor’s office at 10 o’clock. The on-call physician beseeched me to go to emergency room, but informed me that I could not drive myself: I either had to take a cab or have a loved one take me.