Integrative medicine goes mainstream
Today more physicians are offering
treatments to patients that complement
traditional medicine. It's
integrative medicine, and consumer
demand is growing.
Patients appreciate a
holistic approach, according
to family physician Polina
"We treat the
person, not just the disease.
Integrative medicine looks at
how a set of symptoms affect the
whole person: mind, body and spirit."
Alternative medicine treatments include acupuncture,
homeopathy, hypnosis, relaxation therapy and massage
therapy. But, most practitioners specialize in only one
or two therapies. The common thread is they are natural
Dr. Karmazin emphasizes the safety and effectiveness
of alternative therapies: "A guiding principle is that we
only use those which have high-quality evidence to
How does it work?
Stress reduction and healing benefits of relaxation
therapy are easily understood, but some alternative
therapies, like acupuncture, are less obvious.
While integrative medicine specialists use alternative
treatments in conjunction with traditional
therapies, over time the need for certain medications
may be reduced. That was the case for Joann Orr,
who found relief for a host of medical conditions
with the help of alternative therapies. Before turning
to integrative medicine, she struggled for years with
an injury that included nerve damage. Desperate for
better health and pain relief, she began acupuncture
treatments with Dr. Karmazin.
"Within less than
a year, I was completely off pain medication," she says.
Orr also used homeopathic remedies. Not to be
confused with herbal medicine, homeopathy uses
minute amounts of natural substances to stimulate
the body's own disease-fighting responses and make
them more effective. Homeopathy views the individual
as a whole; symptoms and signs from the body,
mind, and spirit are all regarded when choosing a
medicine or treatment.
With the demand for natural, complementary
treatments growing, patients can expect more
options to come.