What is Integrative Medicine?

We are at a ground breaking moment in health and science, where it is possible to integrate the best of Western medicine with traditional and natural systems of healing based on solid empirical evidence. Integrative Medicine is at the forefront of this movement in mainstream medicine.

Dr. Omid Naim founded Hope Integrative Psychiatry after completing his Integrative Medicine Fellowship program at the University of Arizona, under Dr. Andrew Weil. Dr. Weil was one of the early pioneers in this country for Integrative Medicine, creating the first curriculum that is now the academic leader in training Western doctors in empirically based natural and holistic approaches medicine.

More than just learning how to use safer, natural remedies, he came to understand that the traditions these remedies arise from are time honored systems of health care that took a complete ecological approach to understanding health – seeing individuals as part of a whole system where the body and mind are inter-dependent in the context of the natural environment and the community they live in. These systems also honored the human spirits innate wisdom and resilience as fundamental to healing.

In the integrative model health care is returning to its traditional art and spirit, where the physician is a teacher and a partner who works to empower this innate life force and works with the entire community he or she serves. The physician should emphasize prevention and natural methods that can give you the capacity to determine your health and integrity, because ultimately that is where the greatest power to change lies.

The defining principles of integrative medicine are:

  • The patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.
  • All factors that influence health, wellness and disease are taken into consideration.
  • The care addresses the whole person, including body, mind, and spirit in the context of community.
  • Providers use all appropriate healing sciences to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
  • Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive are used whenever possible.
  • Because good medicine is based in good science, integrative medicine is inquiry-driven and open to new models of care.
  • Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.
  • The care is individualized to best address the person’s unique conditions, needs and circumstances.
  • Practitioners of integrative medicine exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.

In 2007, to help educate the American public on what the US health care system should be offering its constituents, The Bravewell Collaborative developed what is called a Patient’s Bill of Rights.

As an individual, you have:

  1. 1.The right to person-centered care.
  2. 2.The right to receive health care that addresses the wholeness of who you are—body, mind and spirit in the context of community.
  3. 3.The right to a health care system that focuses on prevention and wellness.
  4. 4.The right to be empowered as the responsible, central actor in your own healing.
  5. 5.The right to education about self-care that includes access to scientifically-based nutrition, exercise and mind-body interventions.
  6. 6.The right to a healing relationship with your health care provider that is grounded in humanism, compassion and caring.
  7. 7.The right to speak openly and honestly with your health care providers and in return, to experience honest and supportive communications from all members of the health care community.
  1. 8.The right to a health care environment that recognizes that to be healing and empowering, health care providers themselves must seek to be restored and whole.
  2. 9.The right to embrace the spiritual dimension in the context of your health care.
  3. 10.The right to health care providers who understand that integrity and spiritual qualities are as important as medical knowledge and technical skills in the process of healing.
  4. 11.The right to a truly integrative medicine that is supported by rigorous scientific research, maintains the highest standards of excellence, and offers a full and complete array of care modalities.
  5. 12.The right to healing even when there is no cure.
  6. 13.The right to be whole.