What Is Integrative Health

Optimal health and healing come from taking an integrative approach to healthcare that is patient-centered, science-based, transdisciplinary and team-delivered. This is called Integrative Health.

Integrative health redefines the relationship between the practitioner and patient by focusing on the whole person and the whole community. It is based on scientific evidence and makes use of all appropriate preventive, therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare professionals and disciplines to promote optimal health and well-being.

Why integrative health

Moving from the status quo to improved care for our population requires an expanded focus to promote health and well-being and more effectively (both clinically and economically) deliver healthcare using all evidence-based approaches across the lifespan. The transformation of the current healthcare system, as well as training of the next generation of healthcare professionals, should incorporate integrative health for all.

Definitions under integrative health

Conventional medicine or mainstream healthcareThe delivery of molecularly oriented, mechanism-focused and evidence-based approaches for disease treatment and prevention. It is widely adopted by the mainstream healthcare system and taught in accredited medical schools. Integrative, complementary, lifestyle and holistic models of care are rapidly being incorporated into mainstream healthcare as evidence for their efficacy accrues.
Complementary and alternative healthcareNon-mainstream health practices that are scientifically backed and research-driven, administered in conjunction with conventional medicine. As they are validated they move into the mainstream.
Lifestyle and self-careThese involve the practice of incorporating healthy, evidence-based behavioral and nutritional approaches into conventional medicine to promote wellness.
Holistic carea health practice that examines the whole person – mind, body and spirit – rather than focusing solely on a particular illness, injury or symptom. Holistic care provides greater context to treating a patient’s ailments.
Integrative healthcareThe coordinated delivery of conventional medicine with evidence-based complementary medicine for producing optimal health and healing. It holistically addresses the physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect a person’s health and well-being as well as lifestyle and self-care practices.

Achieving wellness through integrative health

Patti Porto suffered with issues related to menopause. She remembers feeling awful at the time. Today, she’s training for her first triathlon.