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Integrative & Functional Medicine
Many Americans have never heard of integrative medicine, but this holistic movement has left its imprint on many of the nation’s hospitals, universities, and medical schools.
Treating the Whole Person
Both doctors and patients alike are bonding with the philosophy of integrative medicine and its whole-person approach — designed to treat the person, not just the disease.
IM, as it’s often called, depends on a partnership between the patient and the doctor, where the goal is to treat the mind, body, and spirit, all at the same time.
While some of the therapies used may be non conventional, a guiding principle within integrative medicine is to use therapies that have some high-quality evidence to support them.
Conventional and Alternative Approaches
The Duke Center for Integrative Medicine is a classic model of integrative care. It combines conventional Western medicine with alternative or complementary treatments, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, yoga, and stress reduction techniques — all in the effort to treat the whole person. Proponents prefer the term “complementary” to emphasize that such treatments are used with mainstream medicine, not as replacements or alternatives.
Integrative medicine got a boost of greater public awareness — and funding — after a landmark 1993 study. That study showed that one in three Americans had used an alternative therapy, often under the medical radar.
In the past decade, integrative medicine centers have opened across the country. According to the American Hospital Association, the percentage of U.S. hospitals that offer complementary therapies has more than doubled in less than a decade, from 8.6% in 1998 to almost 20% in 2004. Another 24% of hospitals said they planned to add complementary therapies in the future. Patients usually pay out of pocket, although some services — such as nutritional counseling, chiropractic treatments, and biofeedback — are more likely to be reimbursed by insurance.
Functional medicine is a personalized, systems-oriented model that empowers patients and practitioners to achieve the highest expression of health by working in collaboration to address the underlying causes of disease.
Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine physicians spend time with their patients, listening to their histories, mapping their personal timeline, and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex chronic disease.
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