This article has an absolutely key learning for any form of medicine. Physicians need to become more familiar with integrative medicine. As the article says, “a person’s overall wellness cannot be measured simply by looking at the health of various organs.”
Heffron, the former director of Brown’s medical school concentration in integrative medicine, says medical students can benefit from learning one of the central tenets of alternative medicine: that a person’s overall wellness cannot be measured simply by looking at the health of various organs.
“The big lesson that I try to get across to the students is to try to take a step back and realize that patients are more than the sum of their parts,” he says.
Another lesson integrative medicine teaches, its proponents say, is the importance of preventing illness and maintaining optimum health, as opposed to reacting to the symptoms of disease. An important advantage of integrative medicine, proponents say, is that it puts more emphasis on nutrition and mental health than traditional medicine.
Need for Change
Consumers are taking a more active role in their healthcare. Many use complementary therapies like acupuncture, mindfulness exercises, and more. Chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease have proven especially stubborn for clinical solutions. Healthcare providers are embracing the need to address non-clinical determinants of health, or Social Determinants of Health, to combat lifestyle and chronic illnesses.
It is refreshing that top US medical schools are preparing young physicians for the new healthcare landscape. As the US moves from “sickcare” based on a Fee For Service Model to Value Based Care based on outcomes, integrative medicine will be increasingly necessary.
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