How Is Integrative Medicine Different Than Traditional Medicine?
Imagine this scenario:
A young woman, Sara, starts experiencing sharp stomach pains seemingly “out of nowhere.” Sara has no idea what the source of this pain could be: she’s eaten nothing out of the ordinary lately, and she has no medical history of stomach pain. Alarmed, she visits an urgent care facility and meets with a doctor whom she’s never met before.
Inexplicably, the pain subsides a bit while she’s at the doctor, but the sudden onset of the pain earlier still troubles her. Unable to identify any real source of the pain, the doctor prescribes Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant.
Sara leaves confused and with more questions than she had upon arriving. The doctor, busy, overworked, and underresourced, was stretched too thin to provide care for her health. He did what many traditional doctors have been trained to do: prescribe a pharmaceutical and move to the next billable patient. This is a scenario that starts to illustrate how integrative medicine is different than traditional medicine.
Sara isn’t the only one who’s left a doctor’s office confused.
You might have experienced something similar to Sara while looking for an answer to a sudden healthcare concern. Or perhaps you’ve been attending annual doctor visits yet feel like any concerns were not thoroughly examined from all angles before being dismissed (likely with a new prescription).
The Sara scenario is all too common. Millions of people go to their healthcare provider for their annual exams and find themselves on an ever-growing regimen of pharmaceuticals with increasing side effects.
Why are millions of people settling for medical treatments that are a far cry from being truly caring?
Because they don’t know or understand that other options exist. Or perhaps they feel like “alternative” medicines, such as integrative medicine, are too primitive or ineffective.
The fact is, integrative medicine is rooted in a combination of ancient wisdom and cutting-edge technology and has helped millions of patients heal chronic health conditions.
It’s important to understand how integrative medicine is different than traditional medicine to understand which type of healthcare best serves you in various situations.
What Is Traditional Medicine?
Traditional medicine is what comprises the vast majority of healthcare. Rooted heavily in Western medical philosophies developed over the past few centuries, it has led to crucial developments for treating emergencies and providing cutting-edge diagnostics. Traditional medicine knowledge and technology provides essential surgical techniques that improve and save lives daily.
One of the ways that traditional medicine is different than integrative medicine is that it has the potential to provide invaluable healthcare and insights, but today providers are largely beholden to insurance carriers. Many traditional medicine doctors enter the medical field with a desire to help people, but they soon find themselves in a system unable to provide the care that patients need to truly heal from their health problems.
What Is Integrative Medicine?
Integrative medicine is different than traditional medicine because approaches health by looking at the patient as a whole person, not just their symptoms. For example, consider what would have happened if Sara had visited an integrative medicine doctor for her stomach pains. An integrative doctor would have asked questions about her life in general, not just her health history.
Some of the questions they would have asked her might include the following:
- What is your diet?
- How often do you drink?
- Have you experienced any trauma, and if so, how are you treating it?
- Do you like your career?
- Do you feel fulfilled in life?
- How do you relieve stress?
- How are your relationships with family, friends, and significant others?
- What is your home environment like?
Root Cause Approach To Healing
These questions illustrate how integrative medicine is different than traditional medicine. Traditional medicine doctors are not likely to ask about relationships, home environment, or life fulfillment in general.
Integrative medicine doctors ask these questions because they are searching for the root cause of illness or dis-ease.
The mind and body are deeply connected, so emotional stress, physical or mental trauma, and environmental toxins can all contribute to undesirable health condtions. Going back to Sara, had her urgent care doctor probed a little more, he would have found out Sara was in a relationship that caused her a great deal of distress, which very well could be connected with her stomach pain. While Wellbutrin could alleviate stress symptoms, an integrativel medicine doctor might run hormonal tests to see if any stress-related imbalances can be addressed at the root.
Additionally, by asking about trauma in Sara’s past, an integrative medicine doctor would uncover that she was brought up by parents stuck in toxic relationship patterns. The stress created emotional trauma that has remained unaddressed and continues to shape Sara’s decisions in the present. Though an integrative medicine doctor can’t offer psychiatric help, complementary methods of releasing trauma could shift Sara’s criteria for choosing future partners.
Consider the difference between traditional medicine and potential integrative medicine treatments in Sara’s experience.
One leaves her confused and leaning on a pharmaceutical, while the other offers biological and emotional support in a way that would impact her health for the rest of her life.
Treating The Symptom: Only Scratching The Surface Of Dis-Ease
Through Sara’s journey, we’ve witnessed a fundamental example of how integrative medicine is different than traditional medicine. Traditional medicine treats the symptom, often with pharmaceuticals that lead to side effects and even chemical dependencies. While miraculous medications on the market can save lives, prescription medicine shouldn’t be the default treatment plan.
Getting Started With Integrative Medicine In Dallas, Texas
If you feel like you can benefit from the differences between integrative and traditional medicine, we invite you to set up a consultation at our integrative medicine office near Dallas, Texas. We’ve helped thousands of patients from around the world reclaim vitality, overcome chronic diseases, and heal from the inside out using the Tennant protocol.
Call us today at (972) 580-1156 to get started, or visit our website’s contact page here.