Integrative Family Medicine

Alpine Valley Wellness Center (AVWC) is part of a international movement that is pioneering a better way to deliver primary care medicine. This new way is called Integrative Medicine.

Definition

Integrative medicine is grounded in the definition of health as put forth by the World Health Organization, who defines health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

At the heart of Integrative Medicine is an approach to health that is centered on the patient and which  addresses the full range of their concerns: physical, mental, emotional, social, environmental, and spiritual. Employing a personalizing strategy that considers each patient’s unique needs and requirements, it chooses the most appropriate interventions from an array of traditional and scientific disciplines to craft a individualized path to wellness.

Differences

Integrative medicine is not the same as conventional medicine. While conventional medicine has much to recommend it, particularly in the area of trauma and other serious illness, it has limitations, a primary one being its reliance on drugs. As noted by several critics, including two former editors in chief of The New England Journal of Medicine,  Marcia Angell and Jerome P. Kassirer, the pharmaceutical industry (“Big Pharma”) has had a corrosive effect on conventional medicine and its influence has contributed to several high profile problems including opioid addiction.

On the other hand, Integrative Medicine is not alternative medicine, which has become a vague term that includes modalities that are questionably medical such as psychic surgery. On the other hand, it is not simply complementary medicine, which refers to healing modalities that are used to complement conventional medical approaches. Rather, as defined by the  Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health, Integrative medicine, “reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.”

Definitive

Because of its scope, Integrative Medicine allows the physicians at AVWC to move beyond the often fragmented, highly specialized approach of conventional medicine and to, instead, offer comprehensive health care. The clinicians at AVWC are able to employ a range of  modalities from lab testing and diagnostic imaging to lifestyle counselling and dietary guidance.