What Is Integrative Health?
Wellbeing model by
Mary Jo Kreitzer RN, PhD, FAAN
Director, Center for Spirituality & Healing
Definition from the Academic Consortium of Integrative Medicine and Health: Integrative medicine and health reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.
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).
Brief History of Integrative Medicine - Major Collaborations of Integrative Health Organizations Toward Changing Policy and Practice (PDF)
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