Mental health therapists have known for decades that the most important ingredient that helps the mind heal is a therapeutic relationship between the therapist and client. Integrative therapies are such therapies and are integrated with medicine. By definition, they are healing-oriented medicines that take into account the whole person (mind, body and spirit). While Dr. Andrew Weil MD. didn’t create the term, he certainly popularized it in books. This alternative therapy emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient and combines alternative medicine with evidence-based medicine. Some prefer “complementary” to show that complementary treatments are used with mainstream medicine rather than instead of it.
So Why is My Doctor Telling Me to Go to Yoga and Acupuncture?
Researchers have done many studies on acupuncture, yoga, chiropractic manipulation, osteopathic manipulation and meditation. These complementary therapies have some high-quality evidence to support them. Others sometimes include herbal medicine, nutritionists, massage and biofeedback, practices of traditional healers, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, and naturopathy. The philosophy of Integrative Therapy is to promote health and healing and to get away from disease thinking and symptom management. Many of these alternative methods have always been based on this philosophy. It tends to be more natural and less invasive than traditional Western medicine. Some of the benefits to Integrative Therapy are:
- The patient takes a much more active role in their healthcare.
- In the long run it is more cost effective to both the patients and the insurance companies.
- It helps the patient lead a more active and productive life.
So Where Do I Find This Integrative Therapy?
On the internet one can find a plethora of integrative medicine centers. It only requires using a search engine like Google or Bing. Every state has a few. In fact many hospitals are now employing practitioners of alternative healing methods. Nurses for years now have trained in Therapeutic Touch. The Veterans Hospitals, long known for being behind the times on patient care, are now offering Yoga, Tai Chi and massage in some areas. Other places to find centers include mental health clinics and free places for people who are HIV + or the poor. You can be with a team of providers who are happy to help you be healthier. The resources are there and the people who care are there too. It is up to you to make the first move.