What Is Integrative Health?
Health care that emphasizes healing, self care, patient-provider relationship and exploring all factors that affect wellness are hallmarks of a growing field in health care called Integrative Health.
An Integrative Health practitioner uses all appropriate therapies, both conventional and complementary, to facilitate healing and promote optimal health. In the past several decades, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in morbidity from preventable illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Despite spending more than double on health care per citizen than most industrialized nations, the U.S. does not enjoy a high quality of health. In fact, the U.S. ranks behind many industrialized countries in life expectancy; and the World Health Organization ranks the U.S. near the bottom of the top 40 nations in health system rankings.
The stark reality is that many chronic health conditions seen so often in the U.S. today are often preventable and even reversible by very low-cost interventions such as diet, lifestyle and mind/body therapy. (Institute Of Medicine, 2009).
Why People Choose Integrative Health Treatment
People today want to take responsibility for their well-being by addressing the effects of lifestyle, emotions, and social interactions on health. People with certain health conditions can greatly benefit from an integrative approach to care. Some of these conditions include:
- Menopause symptoms
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and coronary artery disease
- Preparation for elective surgery or recovery post-surgery
Integrative Health Resources
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is learning to be fully present in the moment with awareness, curiosity, kindness and without judgment.
Mindfulness practice, rooted in ancient practices of attention training, reduces stress, cultivates attention and expands awareness. It teaches us to observe ourselves and situations with calmness, clarity and presence. Using mindfulness, we can quietly tap into our inner life in the midst of a busy world, and be in wise relationship with our thoughts, emotions, and with others. We can become less reactive, and have improved health and well-being.
When mindfulness is practiced regularly, it teaches us to acknowledge our thoughts objectively and with kindness, to notice what is happening in the body, and to come back to the breath as a centering anchor.
A growing body of research demonstrates that mindfulness can not only reduce stress and anxiety, but also foster emotional regulation, impulse control, and increased positive states such as awareness, empathy, perspective-taking, gratitude, happiness, and overall social-emotional intelligence. Practicing mindfulness can build new neural pathways in the brain that increase attention skills, affecting the prefrontal cortex, the seat of attention which is responsible for executive function and working memory.
Three Minute Breathing Space
Simple Breathing Meditation
- Relax and sit up with your spine straight, feet on the ground, hands in your lap, listening on purpose with the attitude that there is no place is more important than this present moment.
- Relax every muscle in your body and focus on your breath.
- Notice the feeling of air through your nose as you breathe in and fill your lungs.
- Slowly let the air out like a straw through your mouth.
- Use the breath as an anchor, and notice how your body feels. Where do you feel tension?
- If your mind wanders, if you have thoughts or hear sounds, notice them like passing waves, and return back to the breath.
- Practice for 5-20 minutes.
For more information and to hear leaders in the field discuss elements of mindfulness, awareness and other principles, visit http://www.mindfulnessresource.org/video/
Opportunities for Mindfulness at UC
- City Silence - City Silence is an international movement, creating a network of community mindfulness gatherings encouraging barrier-free silent meditation in city and community spaces.
At UC, City Silence is led by Drs. Mehran Attari and Marzieh Salehi and coordinated by the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness. These weekly (each Wednesday during the summer) drop-in, silent meditation sessions take place on UC’s medical campus outside of the CARE/Crawley Building. CARE/Crawley is located 3230 Eden Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45267.
Read more about Mindfulness in Education
Additional Mindfulness Resources (books, articles)