At this time when we are reminded to be aware of all we are grateful for, I reflect on my appreciation for being able to work with the incredible healthcare providers who are leading the transformation of our healthcare system – the integrative medicine providers. I am grateful for this specialized group of healthcare providers and admire the characteristics they generally share.
Integrative medicine (IM) providers embark on a new journey knowing it is not always accepted or supported, and may not result in increased financial rewards, but proceed with conviction because they truly care about people’s health and well being. They are passionate about educating and empowering their patients to achieve and sustain better health through an integrated approach that supports healing and promotes health.
The journey that leads to practicing IM typically begins with the practitioner who can no longer continue in the role of a provider who is limited to a brief patient visit to simply manage symptoms. They choose a different path because they are committed to the highest good of the patient and are passionate in how they approach practicing medicine.
Committed to Educating and Empowering Patients
A visit to an IM provider may last an hour or longer because they spend the time to understand the whole person. They create a personalized health plan with each patient that not only heals, but also educates on how to achieve and sustain health; a plan that addresses health and prevention.
Through this partnership, the IM provider educates their patients to discover the power within themselves to make sustainable healthy lifestyle changes and to utilize the many effective modalities available to help them. They educate on the proven mind-body connection so patients can restore health by working with the body’s innate ability to heal itself and address the root cause of disease, not just addressing the symptoms.
This personalized plan empowers active participation from the patient and requires the patient to accept responsibility for their health.
The IM provider embraces the understanding that no one system has all the answers. They stay open to the many evidence based disciplines and modalities that have proven safe and effective in treating patients. They are committed to being aware and continuing their education on the various modalities to ensure they can present the best options possible when creating the personalized health plan with their patient.
Their open-mindedness allows them to provide innovative and preventative treatment approaches customized to each patient. The options available may include lifestyle modifications, integrative therapies, as well as conventional medicine.
The IM provider adopts a team approach in working with other integrative and conventional practitioners to determine the tools and support necessary to improve health and support behavior change. They work in concert with knowledgeable and skilled practitioners to select options that will best meet the individualized needs of each patient.
This unified team brings incredible power to finding solutions to health problems and creating individualized prevention and health promotion plans. The IM provider understands each practitioner in the team has an equal role as a healthcare provider and are each critical in healing and empowering the patient.
The IM provider practices what they preach. They personally adhere to healthy lifestyle behaviors and implement appropriate integrative therapies to create their own personalized health plan. They are role models to their patients by maintaining health and balance in their own lives.
They know an integrated approach is the path to optimal health and vitality, and that they will be better healers and educators when they take care of themselves. The IM provider implements the whole person approach into managing their own health in order to live life to its fullest, enjoy their personal relationships and better serve their patients.
The IM providers are leaders in the transformation of our healthcare system from a disease management system to a health promotion system. The National Institute of Health predicts that all healthcare providers will be versed in integrative medicine modalities by the year 2020. Integrative medicine will be the standard of care, and the IM providers are leading the way.
Their passion, commitment, open-mindedness and team approach enables them to be stellar role models and leaders that embody the change that is much needed in our healthcare system.
I am grateful for the valuable work they do, and the opportunity I have to work with all integrative medicine practitioners. I whole heartedly believe integrative medicine is the answer to the epidemic of chronic illness in our country and truly grateful for the integrative medicine providers who are raising our awareness and leading us to becoming a healthier nation. Their work inspires me to diligently pursue placing them into opportunities that can optimally educate and empower individuals to health and well being.