Integrative Medicine – Its Essence and Origin

Integrative medicine combines the best treatments and procedures coming from Western medicine with the best methods and approaches of complementary medicine. The combination of these two approaches is used with only one aim – to help patients as much as possible!

The integration of Western and complementary medicine started in the USA towards the end of 20th century. To date, there a huge number of centers associated with universities and providing integrative medicine services have been established all across the USA.

Some of the main characteristics of integrative medicine are:
- it is the patient, and not the illness, that is in the focus of examination
- a holistic approach – which means that a person is treated as a whole (their body, soul, and mind); when every aspect of a human being is treated, homeostasis in each body function is more easily achieved;
- the patient and their medical doctor are “partners” in the healing process; the patient cannot be separated from their own healing process; s/he needs to be deeply involved and to act towards finding a solution to their health issue;
- the doctor takes into account all the important factors relevant for one’s health (e.g. social environment, work environment, the patient’s mind, spirit, body characteristics…);
- the use of methods and approaches that are not aggressive, which have been proved to be efficient, and which exert a positively influence on the speeding up of the response of the body’s inner defense system;
- a completely individual approach in the treatment of a person, avoiding the predefined cliche of applying the same therapy for all, i.e. treating symptoms identically regardless of possible different causes for the same health issue.

Integrative medicine development trends have been transferred from the USA to Europe as well, the European Society for Integrative Medicine being established at Charité University in Berlin, Germany.