Conventional Medicine and Functional/Complimentary Medicine are two distinct approaches to illness and health. Integrative Medicine, combines them, and in our opinion is the most ‘Naturally Balanced’ approach to patients.
Conventional Medicine: Focuses on treating symptoms and restoring health using life-sustaining medicines. Also employs surgery and other procedures, which are often lifesaving measures. Treatments are based on the knowledge of reducible body parts, organ systems, physiological machinery, and biochemical reactions, as opposed to a dynamic human being. While many conventional physicians themselves may understand the human-being in total, conventional medicine simply lacks the tools to address the whole person as such.
Clearly, this approach is best for rescuing a person from acute, hard-hitting disease and emergency or traumatic situations.
Functional/Complimentary Medicine: Seeks to better address the patient in total. This paradigm emphasizes nutritional, emotional, and bioenergetic balance, and its approach is more in line with natural laws that promote total health and well-being. Furthermore, many treatments attempt to address the underlying cause of illness. As such symptoms (however clinically important) are approached carefully and seen as an opportunity to locate problems, which may potentially be corrected with lifestyle changes, balancing of energies, and natural/nutritional remedies. Any strategy offered is meant to support the body’s ability to heal itself and to root out imbalances at the source and prevent clinical disease; sometimes offering patients fundamental and long-term solutions to their problems.
Clearly, this approach is superior for some chronic illnesses, prevention, and the overall health and well being of patients.
Integrative: Appreciates and utilizes both approaches under appropriate circumstances. Requires a conventionally trained physician motivated to understand both paradigms and remains up-to-date in both clinical schools of thought. It is often said in conventional medicine if you can’t see it, test it, touch it or remove it, then it’s idiopathic, psychosomatic or otherwise not explainable. Strictly conventional medicine has limited value in such cases. However physicians, also open to other paradigms will seek to identify the origin of imbalance and address subtle clinical findings more thoroughly thereby partnering with patients to achieve overall health and healing where possible.
Clearly, the combination of both Conventional and Functional/Complimentary strategies, and knowing when to apply each, is the most ‘Naturally Balanced’ way to approach many patients.
Why aren’t there more of us?
While the number of physicians who utilize Integrative Medicine is growing, it’s not nearly as widespread as one would expect given the excellent outcomes to perplexing problems we observe daily. The truth is despite the growing push in this direction; medicine-at-large is slow to embrace it. The requirements for doubly blind, placebo controlled studies to prove it’s significance is misinformed given functional medicine itself is highly individualized. Also, it seems pharmaceutical companies prevent medicine from evolving in a more natural direction and stands as perhaps the single greatest force behind treating symptoms with drugs. While newer medications are hailed deservedly for saving lives, they are often over marketed and over used as first line, when there are plenty of gentle, effective, and less aggressive things to try first. It is important to understand as consumers that drug companies lose billions with even the slightest change in perspective and that’s why their hold on patients, doctors, medical education, regulatory agencies, and even high level government and law makers is a “strong hold.”