The practice of integrative medicine involves regarding the patient as an active partner who takes personal responsibility for their own health and a focus on prevention and maintenance of health with attention to lifestyle choices including nutrition, exercise, stress management, and emotional well-being. We like to think of ourselves as providing the role of educator, mentor, and coach to our patients. We nevertheless still use an evidence-based approach to our practice from multiple sources of information and integrate the best therapy for the patient albeit conventional and so-called “alternative” while we search for and remove barriers that may be blocking the body’s innate healing response. Most of all, we accept the fact that healing and health in general is very unique to the individual and may be dramatically different for two people with the very same disease.
As Dr. William Osler indicated, “It is much more important to know what sort of patient has a disease than what sort of disease a patient has.”
Scientific medical principles always involve the concept that the application of any healing technique has to consider the potential benefits against the potential risks. This is true whether that therapeutic approach is “orthodox” or so-called “alternative”. We adhere strongly to the standard of care prevailing in our medical scientific literature, and recognize the need in the context of the chronically-ill patient to go above and beyond. We always involve the patient in the decision making process and provide him or her with all the information available that may be found in both conventional wisdom, experience-based medicine, or evidence-based medicine. Knowledge comes from many traditions variously applied at different times to the same patient with disease or dysfunction.
Finally, we also recognize the fact that recently published data may take as long as five to ten years to become incorporated into medical school curriculums and post- graduate training and, therefore, some patients cannot afford to wait until relatively safe therapeutic techniques are “sanctified,” and approaches can be implemented right away in his or her disease or condition process. Sometimes it may be that their personal doctor may not be optimally informed or updated.