The Wellness Library

Differences Between Conventional Medicine and Integrative Medicine: You’re Responsible for Your Healing

by | Oct 6, 2021 | Wellness

Integrative medicine is the best blend between conventional medicine (western diagnosis, lab testing, pharmaceuticals if we need them, imaging, etc.) and eastern medicine (diet and lifestyle focused to treat the whole person). Unfortunately, in our society, many of us grew up in a very conventional setting. You show up, the doctor comes in, asks you a few questions, runs some tests and send you a message in a few days with either “everything is normal!” or “heres a prescription to manage your ailment!”

Essentially they’re telling you “it’s all in your head, deal with it!” or “here’s this medication that will make you all better.” Neither of these statements put you in the driver’s seat.

That’s different in integrative medicine. You’re in the driver’s seat in an integrative medicine model of health. 

How an Integrative Medicine Model is Different

In integrative medicine, we value partnership. We start with a lengthy intake and typically run more diagnostic testing to get a well-rounded picture of what’s happening with your biochemistry, microbiome, genetics, or other systems we’re trying to evaluate. Your first lab review should feel comprehensive, and like you have a good understanding about what’s happening in your body.

But there’s a bit of a mindset shift required by patients as we enter the phase of treatment and expectations for care in an integrative model.

When starting a treatment plan, a patient can expect it to feel like homework. It’s not all due at the same time, and it can be implemented slowly, but the changes we’ll ask you to make take work—and that falls on the patient’s plate.

This shift can be hard to navigate if you’re new to integrative medicine. As I said before, we’ve been conditioned to not be in control of our healing; it’s simply the way our society has been shaped by modern medicine. But at a clinic like MIMC, as a patient, you’ll be responsible for your healing. That doesn’t mean your doctors and practitioners won’t support you—that’s what we’re here for! It does mean that the implementation of your treatment plan will require effort from you.

Treatments in an Integrative Medicine Model

There is no magic pill to help cure any ailment. Supplements, herbs, vitamins, and infusions are going to help with the healing process, but ultimately it’s the totality of a treatment plan that will make a lasting difference and move you towards your health goals. 

You may be asked to:

  • Look at your environment and eliminate toxins.
  • Evaluate your detoxification factors & make improvements to a daily detoxification regime. 
  • Change your diet to incorporate more fiber, protein, anti-inflammatory foods—whatever your biochemistry needs. 
  • Exercise more or differently.
  • Improve your sleep hygiene.
  • Create boundaries in your life.
  • Incorporate more time in nature and other stress relieving activities. 

I find that working with patients who have primarily received care from the conventional system have some difficulty with being in the driver’s seat of their health. Expect to be in charge of your care and your healing, which will take more work.

There is good news though: These changes are true healing and long lasting vs just being a Band-Aid to cover up symptoms. Your efforts are going to pay off big! And we’re here to support you with expertise and knowledge along the way.

If you’re ready to get in the driver’s seat of your health journey, book an appointment with us here.

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