What is integrative medicine, and how does it differ from holistic, homeopathic and alternative medicine?
Integrative medicine is defined as healing-oriented medicine that takes into account the whole person (body, mind, spirit), including all aspects of lifestyle. (Rakel and Weil, Integrative Medicine, 3rd edition) Alternative medicine is everything they don't teach in conventional medical schools and may encompass holistic and homeopathic approaches. Integrative medicine may include theories and practices that are beyond the scope of our current conventional medical model, but without dismissing its therapies or accepting alternative ones uncritically. It offers so many valuable tools, some of which may be perceived as common sense, but with profound effects when applied
Who is an ideal candidate for integrative medicine?
In the midst of our current health care crisis, everyone would be a candidate for some aspect of integrative care. Conventional medicine focuses on the study and management of disease processes, which usually involves expensive diagnostic testing and treatment with synthetic therapies. This current model is what is slowly mortgaging our country's healthcare system with virtually no emphasis on healing. You can treat asthma with a drug without healing the asthmatic subject. Healing facilitates change, such as stress reduction, a healthy diet, encouraging regular physical activity, and promotes a sense of community in which one can thrive spiritually.
Does insurance cover integrative medical treatment?
Third parties are starting to accept and reimburse more integrative models. For example, Dean Ornish has developed a comprehensive system (stress management, diet, exercise, love and support) that actually reverses heart disease, a claim which no statin drug or coronary stent can make. His system is covered by Medicare as well as some private payers.
What should patients look for in a physician or practice that offers integrative medicine?
Someone who recognizes the critical role of the doctor-patient relationship and develops sacred, intimate relationships with their patients by listening intently and offering therapeutic, evidence-based options individualized to their patients' needs.
Avicenna Integrative Medicine
1000 Johnson Ferry Road
Marietta, GA 30068
Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI serves as director of Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. He specializes in integrative medicine and allergy, asthma and immunology, and his interests include the role of inflammation in various disease states, diet and nutrition, and botanical medicine.