Monday, November 5, 2007
What is integrative medicine?
The term "integrative medicine" is often used interchangeably with CAM, but it has a subtle and very important different meaning. Professionals who practice integrative medicine blend appropriate CAM therapies with mainstream medicine rather than simply adding one complementary therapy (such as herbs, for example) to a standard medical treatment. For example, an integrative treatment for Alzheimer's disease may include a combination of the following: (1) medications that increase certain brain chemicals, (2) antioxidants (such as vitamin E and ginkgo biloba) that scavenge free radicals, (3) changes in lifestyle (such as walking programs and relaxation training) to reduce anxiety and improve behavior, and (4) music therapy to bolster the immune system. More and more Americans are becoming familiar with the term "integrative medicine," and studies have found that this blended approach to healthcare is safe and effective for a growing number of medical conditions.