Integrative medicine: Combining complementary treatments with conventional care
Conventional doctors are learning more about complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) because they recognize that more than half of people try some kind of alternative treatment. Many health care institutions have begun integrating therapies that aren’t part of mainstream medicine into their treatment programs. A number of medical schools now include education on nontraditional techniques in their curriculum. As complementary and alternative therapies prove effective, they’re being combined more often with conventional care. This is known as integrative medicine. You’re practicing integrative medicine when you choose to add a complementary treatment to an existing conventional treatment. For instance, you may decide to take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement to help keep your heart healthy in addition to statins your doctor prescribed to reduce your cholesterol. Remember, talk to your doctor before combining complementary and alternative treatments with conventional treatments to avoid possible problems. This movement is sure to grow as passionate physicians move their focus from disease management to health optimization.