There certainly is a great deal of media attention these days on the state of our healthcare system and the rising troubles with our health insurance programs. Anybody that has seen their Primary Care Physician (PCP) in the last few years has experienced the lack of attention most physicians give to their patients. Maybe you are not getting quality sleep because you wake up all night. You set an appointment with your PCP (who doesn’t practice Integrative Medicine) and when you finally see them, you get 15 minutes of their time. In their office, you tell them your symptoms, maybe they order some routine blood panels, and they send you on your way with a prescription. You leave the PCP’s office probably feeling uncared for and you may lack confidence that you are going to start feeling better.
I am here to tell you there is a much more compassionate, thorough, and encompassing process for providing wellness to people. Integrative Medicine is the most profound and effective way to treat patients, particularly those with a complexity of issues or chronic disease. The Founder of Thrive After Corporate is such a passionate believer of Integrative Medicine that she created this company to help people regain and sustain their vibrant wellbeing. One of central modalities for treating post-corporate employees is through the Integrative Medicine approach.
OUR HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IS BROKEN
Our current health care system is largely governed by profit-driven conglomerates that essentially force physicians to manage huge caseloads and keep people moving through the system as quickly as possible. Its mass-produced, assembly line, quick-fix, put-a-band-aid-on-it medicine, with little hope of creating long-term health. To its credit however, allopathic medicine is great at managing medical and surgical emergencies, medical crises, acute infections and trauma, but falls way short when it comes to treating chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal problems, chronic fatigue, autoimmune diseases, and stress related disorders. This is where Integrative Medicine shines bright with its more comprehensive, thoughtful approach (from Dr. Frank Lipman).
UNDERSTANDING INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE
Although Integrative Medicine is not all that new, many people don’t have a clear understanding of the principles behind this form of healing. First of all, Integrative Medicine is a very personalized approach to dealing with the wellbeing of an individual. A practitioner of Integrative Medicine will examine not just your blood chemistry to look for clues of disease, but they will examine your saliva, your DNA, and even your poop. What, you say, my POOP?
Yes, there are many clues that can be found about your digestive health by looking at the bacterial profile of your poop and Integrative Medicine practitioners have specific, non-invasive, tests they can use to tell a lot about your general physical health just by gathering a pea-size amount of your poop.
Integrative Medicine practitioners also look at a client’s lifestyle factors, the stressors in their life, and environmental factors. They treat the whole individual, not just the symptoms, and this approach allows the practitioner to more accurately develop treatment and preventative care plans that are based on the INDIVIDUAL. This approach is in contrast to a “one-size-fits-all” approach, in which disease treatment and prevention strategies are developed for the average person, with less consideration for the differences between individuals. Doesn’t this sound pretty great to work in partnership with your doctor and be treated as a unique human being rather than a 15-minute time slot on a PCPs calendar?
Health is not just being disease free. Health is when every cell of your body is bouncing for joy.
INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE VERSUS ALLOPATHIC
Let me be very clear, Integrative Medicine does not work in exclusion of allopathic medicine but rather as a complement to traditional medicine. What this means is that allopathic medicine is often needed in critical disease states such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease to prescribe pharmaceuticals and intervene with surgical methods to help the patient restore their health. Integrative Medicine practitioners attempt to work with clients to PREVENT these disease states, or work in conjunction with what can be called traditional medicine to provide the best approach for restoring wellbeing.
Let’s look an example of when Integrative Medicine would be sufficient to relief a patient of their health issues and when an allopathic approach is necessary. Perhaps you have started feeling fatigued all the time, have brain fog, lost your enthusiasm for life, and just want to lie on the couch all day and watch television. You make an appointment with your PCP, tell him/her your symptoms and they order some routine blood work. They may tell you to just get some rest, they may prescribe an antidepressant, or they may test you for diabetes. Your blood chemistry tests can come back normal and you can be negative for diabetes, so either rest or an antidepressant is the go to prescription for your symptoms.
EXAMPLE OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE APPROACH
An Integrative Medicine practitioner will start by listening to you symptoms, taking lots of notes, and talk with you about the stressors in your life or changes in your lifestyle. They still may run blood chemistry tests for you, but if you have been under constant stress for a long time, an Integrative Medicine practitioner will suspect issues with your adrenal glands. They will run a test called a Hypothalamus-Pituitary Axis Stress Profile, which sounds complex but it is a simple saliva test. This test is designed to tell a practitioner if your adrenal glands are functioning properly. A graph is generated of your cortisol levels throughout the day, which looks like this representative graph.
An Integrative Medicine practitioner will be able to tell if you’re in Stage 1, 2, or 3 of adrenal fatigue and develop a healing protocol that DOES NOT involve pharmaceuticals. They will prescribe a care plan that uses supplements, stress reduction techniques, and practices to enhance sleep quality. If an Integrative medicine provider suspects you have adrenal disease, such as a tumor or autoimmune dysfunction, they will refer you to an appropriate specialist for treatment.
SWITCH YOUR CARE TO INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE!
Every since I started studying Integrative Medicine, I have become a tremendous advocate for showing how people who are suffering from health issue can return to vibrant wellbeing. Indeed clients have to understand they will need to be as dedicated to their health as their practitioner. But when they form a committed partnership with their Integrative Medicine provider, they can achieve balance and optimal health in their lives.
Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel. – Kevin Trudeau
The rapid pace of our knowledge expansion in how to keep the body working now allows us to go beyond the current crisis care model and offer clients a much better approach to their health. Unlike allopathic medicine which is a disease care model, Integrative Medicine is true health care. We can incorporate lifestyle medicine, nutrition, up health care needs of the 21st Century are really overwhelming, but I am passionate that together we can address and reverse many of these disease issues. Let’s STAND TOGETHER to create vibrant wellbeing!
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Yours In Vibrant Wellbeing,