WHO defines Health as not mere absence of Disease but complete, Social, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual well-being. Thus by definition, a Complete medical solution should encompass all aspects of life of a person. Integrative Medicine emphasizes the relationship between various systems of medicine and makes use of all appropriate therapies, both Conventional (Allopathic Medicine) and Traditional (e.g. Yoga, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Nutrition etc.)
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines Integrative Medicine as – that which combines main stream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.
Conventional medicine is often expensive and invasive but a preferred choice in acute care and surgical corrections. To fill the lacunae left by Conventional Medicine there is a need for another type of medicine that is a complete system of medicine in itself and can be complementary to Conventional Medicine. Traditional Medicine systems world over have now been in focus because of active research going on that now has provided enough evidence that it can act as a partner to Conventional Medicine in creating an Integrative Medicine eco-system. These traditional systems of medicines are closer to nature, affordable, less invasive and are proven to be more effective in chronic disease management.
The basic criteria for choosing which system of medicine to integrate are:
- Evidence Backed in treatments for chronic ailments
- Possibility of Functional Integration of therapies based on what best therapies each system can bring rather that taking all therapies from one system alone
- Non-Pharmacological, Less Invasive, more natural and use body’s own healing response
- Focused on Prevention and Positive Promotion of Health than only curing a disease
Systems of medicines which can be integrated with Conventional medicine
- Mind body medicine such as Yoga
- Energy medicine such as Acupuncture
- Herbal medicine such as Ayurveda