Whenever I mention that I am an Integrative Medicine physician, I am asked the question, “what is that”? The next statement usually is, “you mean you practice Alternative Medicine” or “is that Holistic Medicine”? So, I thought that I should begin this exciting journey with my new blog on….. What exactly is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative Medicine, as the name suggests, is an integration of modern Allopathic medicine with a new and upcoming field of medicine called Functional Medicine and age old traditional and complementary healing methods like Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Herbology, Energy Medicine and Mind-Body healing techniques like yoga, meditation and healing touch among others. This is truly “whole”ness in medicine.
I am a Board Certified Internal Medicine Physician who after graduating from medical school and residency, started my private practice of Internal Medicine and over years cared for thousands of patients in an out-patient set up as well as in the hospital, which included caring for them in the Intensive Care Unit. Throughout this time, I was constantly plagued by the feeling that something was missing in the way we were treating our patients. I finally realized that, the system of using the paradigm of acute care medicine towards treating chronic conditions was totally flawed and failing. In many instances it led to creation of new problems, due to long term mindless drug therapy, without delving into the real cause for the illness. I had decided that I was not going to be a party to this “band-aid” system of medicine where symptoms were being covered without finding the root cause. Hence, began my journey into the field of Integrative Medicine and Functional Medicine.
I am also board-certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine and now practice Internal Medicine with an integrative and functional medicine approach. My patient and I are in a healing partnership where I am there to listen to them with empathy, advise and empower them with lifestyle tools, but the patient understands and takes the ultimate responsibility for the impact of his/her lifestyle choices and decisions on their health. As an integrative physician, I am a part of a small but rapidly growing body of medical doctors who are trained to dig deep down and try to find the fundamental causes for the disease process. In my experience most of these are related to poor nutrition and lifestyle choices and so, are reversible. At times, I also find that one individual may be genetically predisposed to getting an illness more than another one. in those cases, I work with the patient at length and attempt to educate them on how food and lifestyle choices can help alter that genetic tendency (i.e. genes are the loaded guns ….. lifestyle pulls the trigger!). Of course, there are circumstances where modern medicine options like drugs and surgical treatment become necessary but my aim is to reduce their use and need as soon as it is possible after the acute event is over.
At my office, we practice lifestyle medicine which is in the real sense, Preventive Medicine. Many chronic ailments like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, metabolic syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, allergies among many others can and have been ‘cured’ with simple, therapeutic lifestyle changes. During the extensive investigation into the cause of an illness, we try to assess our patient’s dietary choices and patterns, nutritional needs, exercise and movement habits, sleep hygiene, stress management abilities and skills, inter-personal relationships, family and community dynamics and support systems and spiritual needs, among other factors. The intention is to heal the mind, the body and the soul! This approach of integrating my Western Internal Medicine training with other scientifically-based treatment modalities which have stood the test of time, has helped my patients recover not only from their ‘dis-ease’ but has given them skills for achieving lifelong health as well as mind and body healing and vibrancy during the natural aging process.
It is my constant attempt in my practice, to give my patients the tools needed to take charge of their health with simple and easy changes and also help them understand the connections between their genes and the environment. My aim, on this blog is to explore with all of you, this expansive wonderful field of Integrative Medicine and the intention is to empower you with the basic knowledge of how ‘real’ food and nourishing lifestyle can not only prevent illness but create a positive impact towards leading “whole-istic” lives. Of course, there will be times when I will blog about something relevant to food, nutrition and health that is interesting in the news and possibly useful to the readers.
In the end I would like to congratulate you, the readers and all my patients who are leading the movement towards a shift in the way medicine will be practiced in the future. You are willing to take your health in your own hands and are demanding more and are showing that status quo in medicine will not work! I would be lying if I claimed that Integrative Medicine does not face challenges every day and I hope to discuss those challenges with you in some of my future posts. It is my vision that it is not far from becoming the standard of care…… a few baby steps at a time in our journey together on this path, and I am confident that this will happen sooner than later!
websol October 19th, 2011
Posted In: Blog Post