Great Smokies Medical Center of Asheville

Integrative Medicine

What Is Integrative Medicine?

“Mainstream” medical practice is based on knowledge of disease and specializes in the use of drugs and surgery to treat acute and chronic disease. “Alternative” medicine focuses on the identification of factors that can promote or diminish health and recognizes the ability of the body to heal itself given the proper environment to do so by removing obstacles to health. Solidly grounded in scientific theory and practice, alternative medical treatments minimize the use of drugs and surgery and focus on prevention, nutritional therapy, herbal medicine, acupuncture, homeopathy, lifestyle and diet modifications, and is open to advances in modalities that promote healing.

Healthcare consumers and physicians alike are voting with their feet in increasing numbers as they have failed to find effective treatment and seek safe, effective, less toxic approaches to address today’s health problems.

Integrative Medicine is holistic, treating the whole person – body, mind and spirit. It also understands the difference between curing, the removal of physical illness and healing, the balancing of positive and negative feelings, beliefs, perceptions, emotions and life situations with the goal of fostering wellness, not only lack of disease.

Integrative Medicine also includes functional medicine, an approach that considers the well-being of the whole person instead of the goal of addressing only the disease state. It aims to identify the earliest roots of organic disease that are often hidden in the symptoms and words patients use to describe their health concerns that can advance to pathological disease if not satisfactorily addressed. Integrative Medicine is at the heart of patient-centered healthcare, partnering patients and practitioners in personalized healthcare.

Environmental toxicity can lead to the accumulation of the body-burden of toxins through ingestion, inhalation or contact that can impair cellular functioning. Evaluating toxicitiy is a part of an Integrative Medicine patient assessment in the 21st century as is addressing toxicity with targeted, assisted detoxification strategies.

Too often, patients feel they must choose between mainstream and alternative medical approaches. Being trained and experienced in both approaches allows our medical staff to carefully choose therapies from these diverse approaches that are best suited for an individual. Integrative Medicine combines the most promising therapies from a wide variety of healthcare practices and philosophies that provide access to what we feel are the safest and most effective medical interventions.

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Integrative Medicine

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