Integrative Medicine WeilWhat is Integrative Medicine?

There is an established definition of Integrative Medicine, and nowhere in it will you find the words “complementary” or “alternative.” Here is that definition from the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine and the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM):

Integrative Medicine is the practice of medicine that seeks to achieve optimal health and healing by:

  • Reaffirming the importance of the relationship between the practitioner and the patient
  • Focusing on the whole person
  • Basing conclusions on evidence
  • Making use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines

The National Institutes of Health also has a definition for Integrative Medicine, and this definition does make mention of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). According to the NIH, Integrative Medicine “combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.” Some practitioners of Integrative Medicine like to simplify the definition even further. Integrative Medicine, they say, is medicine – plain and simple.

These three definitions are not contradictory. The development of Integrative Medicine was influenced, in part, by CAM practitioners who endorse the efficacy of techniques such as acupuncture and other means of treatment. Yet, anyone who adheres solely to the tenets of “conventional medicine” would be mistaken to relegate Integrative Medicine strictly to the realm of CAM. Integrative Medicine is not “alternative.” In fact, a practitioner of Integrative Medicine embraces the form of treatment that is best suited to achieve optimum health and healing. In some cases, that means using conventional therapy. In others, it means using therapies that might be considered “alternative” by some. Quite often, if means using a combination of therapy methods. Always, it means doing what must be done to treat the whole person, rather than focusing solely on symptom alleviation.

To learn more about Integrative Medicine and the ABOIM, contact the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS), which is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.

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I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine