Treat the body as a whole. This is the goal of integrative medicine, an approach that combines traditional practices with complementary therapies. In the search for general well-being, all the influences that affect human health are taken into account: physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental aspects. Learn more about this practice.
What is integrative medicine?
According to cardiologist Carlos Alberto Stipe, integrative medicine appeared in the United States in the 1960s and was the result of dissatisfaction among users of the health system and disillusionment with the medical model of the time. As early as the 1990s, different American universities came together to create a scientific process to better understand these practices that we now call Integrative Medicine (IM).
Therefore, the idea is to care completely for each person and not just focus on one problem. For this, a partnership between the doctor and the patient is also necessary, who must act as the main benefactor of their health.
“In integrative medicine, the patient is the center of attention and decision-making. He is an ally of his therapists. This practice broadens the concept of care, integrating traditional medicine with complementary therapies, and does not compete or deny their effectiveness, ”, says the cardiologist.
Diseases treated by integrative medicine
This practice can be used mainly to treat the following diseases:
- Autoimmune diseases;
- Chronic homeless
- Menstrual problems
- High pressure.
Integrative medicine vs conventional medicine: what is the difference?
According to Dr. Márcia Umbelino, a specialist in molecular, preventive and integrative health medicine, traditional medicine looks at the patient in parts, while integrative medicine aims to care for the person as a whole: body, mind and spirit.
Therefore, conventional medicine treats the pathology in a simpler way, often generalizing the condition. While in the integrative approach, each patient is cared for individually, taking into account all the aspects that can affect the reactions of that organism.
“In this technique, the disease is no longer focused, but the patient as a whole. In this way, you can prevent diseases and treat your problem in a more comprehensive way”, adds Ampelino.
However, it is important to emphasize that integrative medicine is not a substitute for other types of conventional treatments. Therefore, their work must be done together.
How does integrative medicine work?
The difference of integrative medicine is that it not only focuses on the disease, its management or rehabilitation, but also on the prevention and promotion of health. “We can work by recognizing and defining strategies so that people stay healthy with the best possible quality of life.”
To do this, it brings together professionals from different fields and backgrounds. Among them we have breathing techniques, meditation and the use of phytotherapy. The best combination of techniques is chosen after the initial consultation, that is, the anamnesis. This evaluation is very accurate and takes into account the patient’s history as well as physical examinations.
From there, the doctor can put together his diagnostic reasoning and create a treatment plan. Then he offers the patient the possibility of doing any of the integrative practices available, always asking if it makes sense to him and if it is his wish. If the patient agrees, a joint decision is made on the best complementary therapy option”, explains Carlos.
Integrative medicine in Brazil
In Brazil, the practice is not yet recognized as a medical specialty, but it has been seen as a health paradigm since 2006. Despite this, the SUS offers options such as acupuncture and homeopathy, for example, in all capitals and more. of half of the municipalities
According to DATASUS, between 2017 and 2019, the number of integrative practices implemented in the country increased by 324%.
Benefits and Positive Results
The main benefits of this practice come from the integrated treatment of the patient. That is, it is treated as a single being, in contrast to the fragmented picture that traditional medicine leads to. “Through the holistic approach (Greek word that means whole or whole), we understand the person more deeply, facilitating the communication necessary to establish an excellent doctor-patient relationship”, says Carlos.
However, according to a cardiologist, this is the basis for successful medical behavior, as well as generating autonomy and empowerment for the patient. “Only then will you be able to adjust his lifestyle and take measures that promote greater self-care.”
Main Complementary Therapies
Learn more about the most commonly used complementary therapies.
Yoga is a traditional practice originating in India, which consists of a series of physical postures and also focuses on breathing as well as mindfulness and inner awareness. The methodology has become more than a type of exercise, it is also a way of life.
The fact that it involves breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques are key factors in guaranteeing a better quality of life for those who suffer from these symptoms.
Plus, it’s a great way to increase flexibility. A report published in the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine described the findings of a study of 66 older adults who were practicing yoga or calisthenics. After a year of practicing 15 to 30 minutes, the yoga group’s overall flexibility increased by about four times that of the other group.
This practice seeks to connect the mind and body. Therefore, it should be done in a calm and relaxing space that encourages full attention to the anchor (mantras, breath, sounds, body scan). In this way, thoughts come and go freely, without judging, which allows a clearing of the mind. It has proven effective in controlling various disorders such as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese martial art intended to help muscles relax and become more agile. Hence, many consider it the art of moving meditation.
In this way, the practice is a great option for relaxation and balance. Additionally, a study recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging found that such physical activity may also reduce the risk of dementia.
An ancient technique discovered by traditional Chinese medicine, which consists of placing needles in specific parts of the body. Thus, this process stimulates the so-called “acupuncture points”, awakening energy channels and favoring balance and health.
In each consultation, before placing the needles, it is essential that the medical professional evaluate the patient’s condition. In addition to examining general health, an examination of the tongue and pulse are performed. In this way, an energy diagnosis can be developed, essential to obtain the best results. After this initial assessment, a treatment plan is drawn up, acupuncture points are selected, and only then does the person receive needles that remain in the patient’s body for 20 to 30 minutes.
Chiropractic is a technique that prevents and treats joints, tendons, muscles and vertebrae, as well as their effects on health. It involves manipulating the patient’s body and adjusting and aligning structures.
The maneuvers that correct posture and imbalances are performed with the patient on a stretcher or mat. They last an average of 15 to 30 minutes and cost between R$100 and R$300. Pop, or boredom, is the main feature of the sessions, but it is not mandatory. Noise is a normal joint reaction. The synovial fluid that remains within the joint capsule lubricates the joints.
Being composed of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide gases, it can form bubbles that generate noise when exploding. The slap is not harmful and does not harm the body.
Carlos Alberto Stipe, cardiologist and member of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology, founder and director of the Vital Center for Integrative Medicine, in Rio de Janeiro.
Marcia Umbelino, MD, is a specialist in molecular, preventive and integrative health medicine.