Integrative Medicine Defined
Integrative medicine, as defined by the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM) and the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, is the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.
The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) offers integrative medicine certification through the ABOIM. Completion of the physician board certification process indicates that the Diplomate has proven mastery of the experience and knowledge required to practice integrative medicine. It also reflects the physician’s commitment to adhere to the ABPS Medical Code of Ethics. The ABPS is the only multi-specialty certifying board in the United States to offer integrative medicine certification.
Andrew Weil, MD, a visionary physician and author, helped establish the field of integrative medicine as a specialty. His ideas about the treatment and care of the whole person integrate scientifically-validated therapies of conventional medicine with select practices derived from areas sometimes considered to be complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). His defining principles of integrative medicine include:
- A partnership between the patient and the practitioner
- Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness, disease – including mind, body and spirit
- Use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
- Appropriate consideration given to use of less-invasive and less-harmful interventions, when possible, while addressing the whole person in addition to the disease.
- The concept that medicine is based on good science, is inquiry-driven and open to critical consideration of new paradigms
In addition to scientifically sound treatment concepts, the practitioner of integrative medicine espouses the broad concepts of health promotion/illness prevention and healthy living. Practitioners also are expected to exemplify these tenets and to remain open to self-exploration and self-development.
For integrative medicine certification qualification requirements, contact the ABPS. ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.