Dr. Kelly McCann Discusses the Benefits of Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine blends the best of conventional medicine with complementary and alternative medicine. Conventional medicine typically relies on treatment options such as pharmaceuticals and surgery, while complementary and alternative medicine focuses on practices and therapies that aren’t often taught in medical school, such as acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic Medicine, mind/body medicine, energy medicine, nutrition, homeopathy, lifestyle, and the use of supplements and herbs. These therapies blended with conventional treatment and modalities constitute Integrative medicine.
The ideal way to practice integrative medicine is with several different practitioners, including acupuncturists, psychologists, nutritionists and others together with a physician trained in integrative medicine. Integrative medicine provides physicians with more tools and takes a different approach than conventional medicine in that it views the patient as a whole person—mind, body, and spirit. Integrative medicine recognizes the patient’s innate ability to heal, fosters a partnership between the practitioner and the patient. It is grounded in evidence-based science, with a focus on patient safety and utilizing the most appropriate, least invasive interventions available.
Why Patients Seek Integrative Medicine
Typically, patients come to integrative medicine because they are looking for answers to issues or complaints that conventional medicine has not addressed. Some patients also want to take a more proactive role in their health and see integrative medicine as a way to participate with their practitioner in improving their health. Although many chronically ill patients seek out integrative medicine, those with cancer, chronic fatigue or autoimmune conditions, some patients desire preventative care to maintain their health.
Integrative medicine is reshaping health care because it’s what patients want. They want treatment from physicians who know and understand them. They want to be active participants in their health care and prefer to do this as naturally and safely as possible while avoiding surgeries or toxic pharmaceuticals. As a practice that enhances the patient’s well-being and helps them heal, integrative medicine represents the future of medicine.
Kelly McCann, MD, is a Diplomate of the American Board of Integrative Medicine® (ABOIM), a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS).