Myths and Facts About Integrative Medicine

Have you heard the terms “Western” or “modern” medicine? These words are used to describe the health care system as it currently works, with doctors, nurses, and a whole host of other professionals working to develop medicine and therapy for diseases, conditions, and disorders. It’s often compared to Eastern or alternative medicine, which is more focused on using natural treatments and therapies.

These two are usually seen in direct conflict with each other — two different paradigms for treatment that can’t or won’t mesh. However, there is a middle point between the two: integrative medicine. This field looks at health as physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.

Here at Refresh Rx Hawaii, Dr. Eugene Lee has been combining Western medicine with integrative practices for over 20 years. Below, our team would like to offer some information as a guide for separating fact and fiction in this growing and exciting field of medicine.

On basic principles

Myth: Integrative medicine is more like alternative medicine and rejects the advances made by modern medicine.

Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth. Integrative medicine is different from modern medicine in that it considers more than physical well-being. The University of Arizona

Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine states that a guiding principle of integrative medicine is that integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.

Integrative medicine will use whatever is needed to best produce healing outcomes — it doesn’t discriminate based on what school of thought those methods come from. Instead it, looks to combine the best of both worlds in a way that promotes overall well-being.

On treatment

Myth: Integrative medicine is junk science.

Fact: Integrative medicine is based solely upon therapies and treatments that work. To again quote the University of Arizona’s Center, good medicine is based on good science. It is inquiry-driven and open to new paradigms.

Integrative medicine looks to expand avenues for treatment while also considering unconventional therapies. This has been shown to work with the development of fields like integrative oncology. Instead of just prescribing chemotherapy, an integrative oncologist may also prescribe meditation and acupuncture treatments. Chemotherapy serves its medicinal purposes, while acupuncture helps minimize pain and meditation promotes mindfulness and calm.

On health

Myth: Integrative medicine is just selecting alternative treatments. I can do that myself. 

Fact: Integrative medicine is still medicine. To once again dip into the University of Arizona Center’s guiding principles: All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including mind, spirit, and community, as well as the body.

A doctor of integrative medicine uses their expertise to explore the boundaries of treatment. It’s the combination of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health that not only promotes healing, but also looks to instill a sense of overall wellness. Dr. Lee examines your entire life to craft a custom treatment plan that will help you become the healthiest version of yourself both inside and out. 

Ready to experience integrative medicine and possibly unlock the best version of yourself? Come see what Dr. Lee and the rest of our team can do for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Give our Honolulu office a call or send us a message today. 

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