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The World Health Organization’s Definition of Health Sounds Familiar

Integrative Medicine DefinitionIn 1945, diplomats from around the world came together to form the United Nations, and one of the first priorities of this new international organization was to develop a global health organization that would later become the World Health Organization. When drafting the preamble to the organization’s constitution, the first leaders of the WHO felt it prudent to include a concise definition of health. They wrote: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” To physicians who specialize in integrative medicine, this definition could not be more relevant. The WHO’s definition of health is essentially the defining characteristic of integrative medicine.

Yet, while some people still look at integrative medicine as an emerging field of healthcare, the WHO’s constitution, which was ratified in 1948, clearly demonstrates that this isn’t such a novel approach to medicine. Like the WHO, integrative medicine specialists are concerned with treating the person, not just the disease. This can include conventional forms of medicine but also prioritizes complementary and alternative methods as well. The goal is to provide the patient with the best possible care in order to achieve optimal health, and integrative medicine specialists believe in using all of the tools at their disposal. Some examples of the alternative and complementary medicine that are often used in integrative medicine include:

  • The use of natural supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies
  • Yoga, Tai Chi, and Pilates
  • Chiropractic adjustment
  • Acupuncture and acupressure
  • Diet adjustment

At the American Board of Integrative Medicine®, our Diplomates are leaders in the field of integrative medicine. If you are a physician with extensive expertise and experience in the specialty, contact us to learn about our eligibility requirements and the benefits of board certification through the ABOIM, a member board of the American Board of Physician Specialists®. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc®.