Integrative Medicine -- What Is It And What Can It Do For Me?
By Dana Neacsu, MD
Inpatient Medical Group
If you’ve heard the term “integrative medicine,” you may have wondered what exactly it means. It’s an approach to medical care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect that person’s health.
On a practical level, it’s how we blend conventional medical treatment, like prescription medications, modern imaging, lab testing, etc., with evidence-based, natural, less invasive therapies. It’s our way of using all appropriate healing sciences to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
And once the patient’s immediate medical problem is resolved, integrative medicine fosters the development of healthy behaviors and skills for effective self care, ongoing.
The most often aspects of integrative medicine that I use with patients are nutrition, exercise and stress reduction. In my role as a hospitalist, my patients are inpatients here at Gwinnett Medical Center. While they’re under my care, whether it’s post-surgical care or treatment for a condition that may require longer-term care, I try to help them find integrative medicine resources both in and out of the hospital setting.
If you want to incorporate integrative medicine into your everyday routines at home, here are several ways to do so:
- Pay attention to what you eat. Aim for more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Minimize or eliminate processed foods and sugary items (especially sugary drinks)
- Incorporate stress-reduction measures on a regular basis. Go for a walk, take a yoga class, meditate, or focus on your breath to calm your mind and your stress hormones.
- Get more exercise. Park at the far end of the shopping center. Take the stairs. Join a fitness class or find a buddy to change up your routine.
While I can’t guarantee improving your nutrition, stress levels and exercise habits will keep you healthy, they certainly are a big step in the right direction.
How GMC Can Help
Visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org to browse the Health (e) Library. In this comprehensive health and wellness resource, you can
- Read the latest health articles
- Find a recipe for tonight’s dinner
- Look up nutrition facts for your favorite snack
- Search our A to Z library to learn about your diagnosis or condition
- Take your health care interactive by testing your knowledge on a quiz or look up your medication’s side effects
Best of all, the Health (e) Library can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. Browse anytime, anywhere by visiting gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/wellness.