The Role of Meditation in Integrative Medicine

Integrative Medicine MeditationIntegrative medicine is an increasingly popular medical specialty that emphasizes using traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine to improve the patient’s body, mind, and spirit. Physicians who specialize in integrative medicine not only treat illnesses and diseases but also work with their patients to try to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, and one of the most common types of treatments that have been recommended for generations is meditation. The problem with meditation in the public eye, however, is that while there has been ample anecdotal evidence that mindful meditation was beneficial, there had been little scientific evidence to back up these claims. That is, until now.

According to a recent study published in Biological Psychiatry successfully showed for the first time that meditation can “change the brains of ordinary people and potentially improve their health.” This is a significant finding because while meditation has generally been accepted to have a salutary effect on blood pressure and heart rate, this is the first time it has been shown to impact the brain and mental health.

Valencia Porter, MD, is the Chopra Center’s Director of Integrative Medicine at the Mind Body Medical Group and Diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM). As she explains, “long-term meditators have been found to have better preservation of brain regions associated with working member and executive decision making.” In fact, other studies have found that as little as five days of participation in a meditation retreat can have “beneficial changes in mental health and gene expression associated with stress and immune response.”

These findings are extremely important because they validate what proponents of Integrative Medicine, and alternative medicine, in particular, have known for decades: That meditation can have a profound impact on brain, body and mental health.

If you are a physician who specializes in Integrative Medicine and you are interested in exploring board certification in your area of expertise, contact the ABOIM to learn about our Member Board and application process. The ABOIM was developed by the American Board of Physician Specialties® to recognize physicians with extensive experience and a mastery of the core concepts that define Integrative Medicine. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®

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On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine