What is Integrative Medicine? (continued)
Dr. Larry Dorsey, a well-known authority on the value of prayer in medicine, was recently interviewed by Dr. Frank Lipan, himself a renowned integrative medicine physician. Dr. Dorsey said the following: “When we think about medicine, the images that come to mind for most people are high tech, complex and expensive-pharmaceutical drugs, surgical procedures, organ transplants or up and coming therapies such as stem cells.” We do need these of course, but “ for most people most of the time, we can take care of our health in a more down-to-earth way. Behind the high tech world is another reality-- a world of simple ordinary things that have an extraordinary power to heal-- things such as good diet, exercise, controlling stress in our lives. There are less well known, yet in many cases equally as effective, tools such as music therapy, prayer, yoga and meditation. The landmark INTERHEART study published in the Lancet medical journal in 2004 studied approximately 25,000 patients and revealed that stress was found to be the second leading risk factor for heart disease after smoking. Many complementary/alternative medicine mind-body therapies, e.g. biofeedback and psychotherapy, focus directly on stress management techniques and can therefore significantly reduce the risk of having a heart attack.
Integrative Medicine uses the integrative medicine/holistic approach to provide the best options from evidence-based complementary/ alternative therapies as well as conventional Western medicine. This is called "the best of both worlds" approach. Often this means a blend of Western and complementary medicine not only to provide the tools of state-of the-art modern day technologies to diagnose disease, but, just as important, introduce therapies to treat and prevent further illness and to heal the mind, body, and spirit.
The ultimate goal of integrative practitioners is to consider natural approaches first: this includes using natural foods, vitamins and herbs, complementary therapies such as biofeedback, acupuncture and healing touch techniques. Only if these aren't successful will we add or switch to conventional Western therapies such as drugs, surgery or other invasive procedures. We believe that physicians and health care givers should embrace the best of both of these worlds. It is only through openmindedness, education, research and sharing of knowledge that we can value and recognize the wisdom of all healing traditions.
It is the application of both Western and complementary medicine (Integrative Medicine) that we at NYMA believe provides the tools to achieving optimal health. Our hope is that one day we will be able to drop the term “integrative medicine” altogether and rename it simply "good medicine."