Integrative medicine describes a medical direction "that reaffirms the importance of the practitioner-patient relationship. It focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing" as articulated by the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine in 2004.
Compared to the concepts alternative medicine and complementary medicine it focuses on integration with conventional medicine. The wording alternative medicine describes approaches used instead of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine pictures a complementarity of approaches. Integrative medicine uses scientific methods to evaluate complementary and alternative medical (CAM) therapies and is open to a dialog of different paradigms including those from non-conventional systems in a manner of medical pluralism. Central is the effort for scientificity and research with openness of the concept of science.
History of the concept
In polarity to alternative medicine, which emphasizes separation, the term integrative medicine denotes exchange and collaboration of complementary (complementary) partners. The term integrative medicine was applied in the late 1940s in Anglo-American literature and propagated since the 1990s by, among others, Andrew Weil. In the German-speaking world, the term came into use only from the 1990s. The emphases and interpretations of the still relatively young term changed over the years and are weighted partly differently by different representatives even today. Below are some descriptions and definitions.
In the 2000s, the focus was on a combination of elements of conventional medicine with scientifically evaluated elements of complementary and alternative medicine (see definition NCCAM). Through the years the concept broadened to include aspects like the relationship between patient and doctor, a network of caretaking persons and in 2020 a democratic environment and a healthy natural environment, bringing the concept close to that of One Health and impulses arising in mainstream medicine.
Criticism of the concept
Aspects of integrative medicine
A definition by the Andrew Weil center for integrative medicine sums up different aspects of integrative medicine:
|Andrew Weil Center definition||Perspective||Concepts|
|Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process.||Relationship of patient and medical provider||Partnership|
|All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including mind, spirit, and community, as well as the body.|
|Appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods facilitates the body's innate healing response.||Appropriate use of conventional and CAM therapies|
|Support of "body's innate healing response"||Salutogenesis, Hygiogenesis|
|Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive should be used whenever possible.|
|Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.|
|Good medicine is based in good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.||Scientific basis||Science|
|Plurality of paradigms|
|Alongside the concept of treatment, the broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount.||Treatment,|
|Practitioners of integrative medicine should exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.||Self-exploration|
Concept of Human Being
Integrative medicine is sometimes perceived as a more human-centered approach to medicine, partly in response to perceived deficiencies in conventional medicine. The latter achieves high levels of technical precision, but it is argued that its focus on a reductionistic-mechanistic worldview and concept of human beings does not always adequately address essential aspects of human nature. Aspects such as the uniqueness of each individual, human interaction, and biography come into play, which are difficult to reconcile with the prevalent machine paradigm. These considerations have also led to the development of biopsychosocial medicine.
Depending on the concept of human beings, questions regarding life processes, the human soul, and spirituality may come to the fore.
A variety of healthcare providers delivers care through integrative medicine. These providers may include: Physicians, nurse practitioners, chiropractic doctors, holistic mind-body psychotherapists, acupuncturists, chinese herbal therapists, tai chi practitioners, yoga practitioners, massage therapists, nutritionists, chefs (culinary medicine).
Scientific research is a central element in the field of integrative medicine.
Within the framework of the 7th Framework Programme of the EU (FP7: 7th Framework Programme), a coordination project called "CAMbrella" was conducted to investigate the supply and demand of complementary medicine. The acronym "CAMbrella" stands for "umbrella of Complementary and Alternative Medicine".
The treatments promoted in integrative medicine are not substitutes for conventional medical care. They should be used along with standard medical treatment. Integrative medicine should be used together with regular medical treatments. Integrative medicine providers communicate their care recommendations with other medical providers. Adequate regulatory and policy frameworks need to be put in place to ensure that risks are minimised.
|National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM)||2000 (ca)||Integrative medicine combines mainstream medical therapies and CAM therapies for which there is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness.|
|NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms||A type of medical care that combines conventional (standard) medical treatment with complementary and alternative (CAM) therapies that have been shown to be safe and to work. CAM therapies treat the mind, body, and spirit.|
|Mayo Clinic||Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the popular name for health care practices that traditionally have not been part of conventional medicine. In many cases, as evidence of efficacy and safety grows, these therapies are being combined with conventional medicine.
Thus, the term alternative has been dropped and replaced with newer terms, such as complementary and integrative medicine, integrative medicine and health, or just integrative medicine.
|British Medical Journal (BMJ) Editorial||2001||Integrated medicine (or integrative medicine as it is referred to in the United States) is practising medicine in a way that selectively incorporates elements of complementary and alternative medicine into comprehensive treatment plans alongside solidly orthodox methods of diagnosis and treatment.||Lesley Rees, Andrew Weil|
|Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health||The practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the practitioner-patient relationship. It focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, health care professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.|
|National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)||There are many definitions of “integrative” health care, but all involve bringing conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. ... NCCIH generally uses the term “complementary health approaches” when we discuss practices and products of non-mainstream origin. We use “integrative health” when we talk about incorporating complementary approaches into mainstream health care.|
|World health organization (WHO)||Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine - Definitions
|Brinkhaus B and Esch T, adapted Version of the US consortium IM||2020||Integrative medicine and Health reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic, preventive, health-promoting, and lifestyle approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing, emphasizing the art and science of healing. It is based on a social and democratic as well as natural and healthy environment.||Brinkhaus B, Esch T|
|Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine||What is IM/IH?
Integrative Medicine (IM) is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies.
The Defining Principles of Integrative Medicine
In USA the integrative medical movement is represented by organizations like the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health, the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM), the international college of integrative medicine (ICIM) or the Integrative Medicine Consortium (IMC). In the national institutes of health there is a department for integrative medicine called National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
- "DEFINITION OF INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE AND HEALTH". Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine & Health. Retrieved 1 October 2021.
- Brinkhaus, Benno; Esch, Tobias (2021). "Was ist integrative Medizin?" [What is integrative medicine?]. In Brinkhaus, Benno; Esch, Tobias (eds.). Integrative Medizin und Gesundheit [Integrative medicine and health] (in Deutsch). Berlin: Medizinisch Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft. ISBN 978-3-95466-422-1.
- Brinkhaus, Benno; Esch, Tobias (2021), "Was ist integrative Medizin?" [What is integrative medicine?], in Brinkhaus, Benno; Esch, Tobias (eds.), Integrative Medicine and Health, Berlin: Medizinisch Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, p. 9, ISBN 978-3-95466-422-1
- Melchart, Dieter (2018), "From Complementary to Integrative Medicine and Health: Do We Need a Change in Nomenclature?", Complement Med Res, Freiburg: Karger (25): 76–78, doi:10.1159/000488623
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- "Integrative Medicine: What Is It, Types, Risks & Benefits". Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved 2023-06-23.
- Hedda Sützl-Klein (2019). "Komplementär- und integrativmedizinische Forschungsprojekte und Horizont 2020 (8. Europäisches Forschungsförderprogramm)". Integrative Medizin: Evidenzbasierte komplementärmedizinische Methoden (in Deutsch). Michael Frass, Lothar Krenner (eds.). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. ISBN 978-3-662-48878-2. Retrieved 2022-05-06.
- "Integrative medicine - Mayo Clinic". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2023-06-23.
- Wardle, Jonathan (Jon) Lee; Adams, Jon. "Indirect and non-health risks associated with complementary and alternative medicine use: An integrative review". European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 6 (4): 409–422. ISSN 1876-3820. Retrieved 2021-11-16.
- "What is CAM? Defining Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Integrative Medicine". Dr. Rogers Prize for Excellence in Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Retrieved 2021-09-30.
- Rees, Lesley; Weil, Andrew (20 January 2001). "Integrated medicine; Imbues orthodox medicine with the values of complementary medicine". 322 (119). doi:10.1136/bmj.322.7279.119. Cite journal requires
- "Integrative Medicine". GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences (SMHS). Retrieved 1 October 2021.
- "Complementary, Alternative, or Integrative Health: What's In a Name?". National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). Retrieved 2 October 2021.
- "Traditional, complementary and integrative medicine ; Definitions". Archived from the original on 8 March 2021.
- Esch, Tobias; Brinkhaus, Benno (2020). "Neue Definitionen der Integrativen Medizin: Alter Wein in neuen Schläuchen?". Complement Med Res (in Deutsch). Karger. 27: 67–69. doi:10.1159/000506224.