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What is integrative Medicine

In the recent years, the Internet and the Information Age enabled people, more than ever before, to research, discover, and learn about other viable alternatives to the modern, “traditional”, or otherwise known as, the conventional healthcare model. However, this vast amount of information often causes confusion and many people mistakenly use the term Integrative Medicine interchangeably with the terms Complementary Medicine and Alternative Medicine, also known collectively as Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or CAM.

While Integrative Medicine is not synonymous with CAM, CAM therapies do make up an important part of the integrative medicine model.

To put it in perspective, any therapy that is typically excluded by conventional medicine, and that patients use instead of conventional medicine, is known as “Alternative Medicine.” Alternative Medicine is a catch-all term which includes hundreds of old and new practices ranging from acupuncture, to homeopathy, to iridology. Some alternative therapies are scientifically validated, some are not. An alternative medicine practice that is used in conjunction with a conventional one is known as a Complementary Medicine.

On the other hand, Integrative Medicine, combines state-of-the-art, conventional medical treatments with other evidence-based therapies which are carefully selected and shown to be effective and safe. The goal of Integrative Medicine is to unite the best that conventional medicine has to offer with other healing modalities derived from other cultures and ideas both old and new.

Integrative medicine is the practice of medicine which focuses on the whole person and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing. This philosophy of healthcare is based upon a model of identifying the root cause of the disease to enable the body an opportunity to regenerate, and optimize health and wellness, as opposed to a symptom-treatment and disease management approach.

Integrative Medicine puts the patents first, adheres to the Hippocratic oath of “First Do No Harm”, and whenever possible favors the use of low tech, low cost, yet scientifically sound treatment concepts.

Andrew Weil, MD, a visionary physician, and author, helped establish the field of integrative medicine as a specialty. Dr. Weil’s philosophies on the treatment and care of the whole person, integrate scientifically validated therapies of conventional medicine with select practices derived from areas sometimes considered to be complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).

Dr. Weil’s principles of integrative medicine include:

  • A partnership between patient and practitioner in the healing process

  • Appropriate use of conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response

  • Consideration of all factors that influence health, wellness, and disease, including mind, spirit and community as well as body

  • A philosophy that neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically

  • Recognition that good medicine should be based in good science, be inquiry driven, and be open to new paradigms

  • Use of natural, effective, less-invasive interventions whenever possible

  • Use of the broader concepts of promotion of health and the prevention of illness as well as the treatment of disease

  • Training of practitioners to be models of health and healing, committed to the process of self-exploration and self-development.

VCICI is dedicated to expanding the understanding, education, and the practical application of High Dose Vitamin C therapies in Integrative Medicine practices world wide.

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