Ageless. Authentic. Indefinable. A private membership only community of 40-60+ women in passionate pursuit of the Best in Life.

What Is Integrative Medicine, and Why Do You Need It?

If you’re like many of us, you probably show up to the doctor’s office with a specific concern that’s come up, right? This approach can be helpful in certain situations, sure. But adopting an integrative approach to your health can be much more beneficial when it comes to keeping track of your health-related goals and staying ahead of medical issues before they arise. This is known as integrative medicine, and here’s why it’s so helpful.

Take Care of the Person, Not the Disease

The basic concept of integrative medicine is that your (and your doctor’s) approach to your health should be an all-encompassing process that addresses you as a person, and not just a single isolated disease or medical concern (Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine). Analyzing your health on multiple levels, rather than taking a one-dimensional approach, can be beneficial for a number of reasons, including:

  • Emphasizes preventative health. Think of preventative health as a way to audit your overall well-being from time to time to make sure that everything is working as it should. When you’re actively engaged in your health all of the time, and not just scheduling an appointment with your doctor once you’ve noticed a problem, you can not only help to prevent diseases in the first place, but you can also develop healthy living habits that will last a lifetime.

For women, key measures of your preventative health system might include regular mammograms, blood pressure checks, cholesterol screenings, and bone density screenings. The goal is to detect any potential health concerns before they become larger, less manageable problems (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services).

  • Promotes a dynamic relationship with your PCP. One of the most notable benefits of integrative medicine is the fact that you can work closely with your primary care physician to build and achieve long-term goals for your physical and mental well-being. Studies have shown that building a positive relationship with your doctor can even help to give patients the boost of motivation they need to stick with their health plan and stay on track to meet their goals (The American Journal of Managed Care).

While there are certain circumstances that may require a visit to a specialist, maintaining a caring relationship with your PCP can foster excellent health on a much different level.

For one, your PCP will know you and your medical history much better than a specialist would, which can be hugely beneficial when treating or managing an illness. Secondly, when you build a great relationship with your doctor based on caring for your whole, unique, person, you open up the doors to take on areas like nutrition, exercise habits, and even meditative practices that could aid in your prevention strategy.

  • Individualizes medical care. Medicine really shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. In fact, it can’t. What works for one person may not be the right treatment for another person, and that’s where integrative medicine comes in. Once you’ve built a working relationship with your doctor, who should now understand the details of your medical history, and you’ve taken steps in the direction of prevention, you can create a customized approach to your overall health.

Find out what works for you and what doesn’t, and build your health plan around those elements for a much more comprehensive and successful approach.

The Bottom Line

Don’t let your health take a backseat on this crazy, beautiful, roller-coaster ride through life. Allow yourself to put time and effort into your physical and emotional well-being by taking a multidimensional approach to your medical care. After all, you owe it to yourself!For more tips and tricks to make your health and happiness a priority, consider signing up for the Women’s Health Conversations 2016 Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, which features a variety of women’s health advocates, speakers, and entertainers. Become a part of this vital conversation to raise awareness of women’s health concerns, empowerment and education.

Share your thoughts