More About Integrative Health
In my last post, I focused on the word “integrate,” and forms of that word. “Integrative medicine” is a term I never used to see, even with a keen interest in alternative therapies and nutrition. Now, the term is popping up a lot more often, in my experience. Though I alluded to this in my last post, you may be wondering, “What in the world is ‘integrative medicine” or “integrative health?”
Perhaps you’ve heard of the famous Dr. Andrew Weil? This man is an author and an actual medical doctor who practices a type of care that includes healing protocols from many sources, such as chiropractic, acupuncture, and nutritional therapies, along with many more. At the University of Arizona, he founded the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, where one may obtain education as a practitioner.
And Dr. Weil is not alone, of course. If you grew up in the 1970’s, like I did, or later, you may have had ice cream at a place that featured “31 Flavors.” Well, John Robbins was associated with that establishment when he decided to pursue a different, healthier path. He and his son, Ocean Robbins, will be presenting an online conference on integrative health very soon. You can sign up to attend sessions at no charge by clicking this link.
Why all this buzz about integrative health/medicine? It’s pretty exciting to me, actually. For a while now, there has been a growing awareness that western medicine is not the only approach to attaining or maintaining health. For certain emergencies and conditions, the advances in western medicine are saving lives and improving the quality of health.
But, it’s becoming clear to many of us that there’s more to overall health. We can benefit from applying the wisdom that is more widely known in other parts of the world, or even from our own history. Research is also uncovering all sorts of connections between physical, mental & emotional, relational, and even financial health. We know that stress impacts our health. In a similar way, so many aspects of our lives have an effect on our physical condition and determine sickness or well being.
When you read this blog or other articles about nutrition, it may seem as if it’s possible to eat a “perfect” diet and achieve optimal health by virtue of the “best” eating plan. In fact, you know, if you have been reading my posts, that I think great nutrition can improve your health in a big way. But it’s not everything! Far from it. Integrative health looks at the whole picture, and tries to help create balance and nourishment for the body, soul, and spirit.
Another key component of integrative health is that it is a pursuit of wellness & wholeness from the ground up, so to speak. Sometimes, we tend to think of fixing or abating symptoms so that we can forget our troubles. A holistic viewpoint sees symptoms as more of a gift, pointing to something deeper that needs attention. It seeks to address the root cause of any pain or symptom and work toward strengthening the body’s own natural defenses.
This is one of those big topics that really doesn’t fit into one little blog post. I hope I have shed a bit of light on it, though. Perhaps the bottom line is that integrative health is about healing and wholeness – about you, more than your sickness or issues.