Understanding Integrative Medicine
Integrative Medicine is a medical specialty that combines best practices from conventional medicine and alternative therapies to deliver the best possible care to the patient. Physicians who specialize in this discipline are committed to not only symptom-driven treatment but also health promotion and general patient wellness to ensure optimal care. As a result of this novel approach, a strong relationship between physician and patient tends to develop as they work together to help the patient be as healthy as possible.
Dr. Mimi Guarneri, MD, is a founding member of the American Board of Integrative Medicine® – the nation’s first Member Board dedicated to providing board certification to physicians who specialize in this emerging field. Dr. Guarneri is also a cardiologist who recognized that taking a holistic approach to heart health can have a profound impact on potentially preventing avoidable diseases later in life. She recently told Fine Magazine that “Through research, education and the construction of our own healing programs, we value and recognize the wisdom of all healing traditions.”
Integrative Medicine Treats the Root Cause of Illness
Integrative Medicine also tends to prioritize natural and less invasive treatments whenever possible, although the top priority is to deliver the best possible care possible using all available means. As Dr. Guarneri explains, “it is easy to diagnose and prescribe medication. But what is the root cause [of the patient’s condition)]? Integrative medicine studies the individual’s stress level, nutrition intake, possible environmental toxins and where he/she is mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Then, we better understand the entire picture.”
Dr. Guarneri advocates for a more holistic healthcare model, departing from the conventional approach of relying on medications for every ailment. In her perspective, medication represents only a small facet of a holistic model that encompasses the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. Dr. Guarneri asserts that addressing the root cause of an illness is key to treating chronic conditions, emphasizing the significance of integrative health and medicine.
The holistic model that Dr. Guarneri promotes views patients as much more than their physical bodies and recognizes that there are links between heart disease and ailments such as anxiety, stress, and depression. This holistic model of integrative medicine sees illness prevention as the foundation of health care and encourages medical professionals to work collaboratively to heal body, mind, and spirit.
With Integrative Medicine, the focus is placed on the whole person and identifying ways to make that person as healthy as possible through lifestyle adjustments, nutrition education, exercise and other therapies. The ultimate goal of this approach is to improve patient satisfaction by strengthening the relationship between provider and patient, reduce instances of avoidable health conditions like obesity and diabetes, and alleviate some of the burden on the healthcare system as a whole over the long term.
Integrative Medicine Board Certification Through the ABPS
At the ABOIM, a Member Board developed by the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we provide board certification to the most highly qualified and experienced Integrative Medicine physicians in the specialty. Becoming board certified through the ABOIM also reflects a physician’s commitment to adhering to the ABPS Medical Code of Ethics. The ABPS is the only multi-specialty certifying board in the United States to offer integrative medicine board certification. Even as integrative medicine continues to gain wider acceptance, its basic foundational tenets remain constant. These are:
- Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness, and disease
- The use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response
- Appropriate consideration for 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 and is inquiry-driven and open to critical consideration of new paradigms
- Healthcare is best provided as a partnership between physician and patient
To learn more about Integrative Medicine, and to determine if your physician is credentialed through the American Board of Integrative Medicine or other Member Board administered by the American Board of Physician Specialties®, contact us today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®