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Integrative Medicine in the DOD and the VA

Integrative Medicine DODIn recent years, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have begun to recognize the healthful benefits to Integrative Medicine, and have rolled out several new programs to both active duty personnel and veterans. At the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM®), a member board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we are especially glad to see this because it speaks to the incredible scope of benefits that Integrative Medicine can provide to patients of all ages and of all health. This medical specialty combines the best practices of both contemporary and alternative medicine to improve mind, body, and health.

Integrative Medicine focuses on not only treating problems but also making a person as healthy as they can be overall. Often, this includes incorporating all-natural, holistic remedies, alternative treatments, and other methodologies to address concerns. With Integrative Medicine, treatment is always started as conservatively as possible and then adjusted as needed. According to a recent guest editorial in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the DOD and the VA have begun to incorporate Integrative Medicine in some very exciting ways.

Specifically, these Departments have been making a renewed effort to identify effective pain management techniques to help those who experience chronic or acute pain beyond standard drug therapy. For example, one of the pain management techniques that is getting plenty of attention is the use of battlefield acupuncture, which has shown early strong results because, as the guest editorial explains, medical acupuncturists have already delivered “rapid, safe, and effective pain relief in wounded warriors over many years.”

Of course, this is just one small step toward incorporating Integrative Medicine into the military healthcare system, but it is a clear indication that we are taking steps forward. If you are interested in learning how the ABOIM is working to support our Diplomates with the VA and the DOD, or you are a physician who specializes in Integrative Medicine and you are considering pursuing board certification, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®.