Integrative Medicine, also known as Functional or Integral Medicine, has increasingly attracted the attention of health professionals and patients as a response in the search for the humanization of medical care Sananga.
Considering that physical illnesses affect people’s emotional and mental health, as well as psychological complications can make the body sick, integrative medicine promotes well-being and quality of life through the balance of the different aspects that affect the body. individual.
This means that, unlike treating the disease specifically, as occurs in traditional medicine, integrative practice focuses on the patient as a whole, identifying various factors, including physiological, psychological, nutritional and even social, that can be improved. to ensure full health.
This integration of care generates benefits not only for patients, who notice better results, but also for health professionals, who have the support of colleagues from other specialties to improve their relationship with patients and commit them even more to the treatment. .
In this article, we will explain in detail the concept of integrative medicine, its main benefits, how to apply it in your office, clinic or hospital and what the Chile scenario is for the specialty, supported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
What is integrative medicine and how did the concept arise?
Many times, diseases arise as a consequence of unbalanced eating habits or routines made up of inappropriate behaviors, which in one way or another end up weakening the immune system. And although this idea is already widespread within traditional medicine, integrative or comprehensive practice has the purpose of making treatments even more effective with a collaboration between doctors, therapists and health professionals in general.
Thus, functional medicine combines alternative therapies, such as phytotherapy, homeopathy, floral therapy, aromatherapy, yoga, massages, meditation and acupuncture, with traditional procedures from various areas.
An oncologist, for example, can work together with nutritionists, nurses and psychologists to provide more complete assistance to the patient. Studies show that alternative therapies help relieve common side effects of cancer treatment , such as fatigue, anxiety, pain and nausea.
Professor Dr. Chin An Lin, head of the General Didactic Outpatient Clinic of HCMFUSP , in Brazil and Co-coordinator of the Mind/Body Integrative Medicine Center, describes integrative medicine as a treatment that goes beyond the disease:
Said the professor, according to the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo , Brazil.
The birth of the concept of integrative medicine, according to Editor-in-chief of The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (JACM), John Weeks, occurred in the context of the counterculture, around the 1960s.
The movement was motivated by various factors, such as the increase in life expectancy, criticism of the asymmetrical power relationship between doctors and patients, the difficulty that conventional medicine faced in solving certain diseases (especially chronic ones), information about the danger of the adverse effects of medications and surgical interventions, among others.
What are the advantages of integrative medicine for patients, specialists and clinics?
Patients with chronic diseases who, until now, were subjected to essentially palliative procedures, are able to work on the cause of their problems when they undergo a more comprehensive approach.
Furthermore, integrated support defocuses the disease and places the patient as the protagonist of the treatment.
With this, the treated person begins to perceive that their role goes beyond taking medications and undergoing tests, and sees themselves as the main agent of change for their health, benefiting themselves and also the professionals who accompany them.
These are the main advantages of integrative functional medicine:
Positive influence on the doctor-patient relationship
The basis of care based on integrative medicine is knowing how to listen. Investigating all aspects of the patient’s life, understanding his problems and concerns, considering his economic situation and identifying his personality and individuality, is essential so that the most appropriate procedures can be recommended.
With all this, the patient creates a closer and more trusting relationship with the professionals involved, since they know that they all share the same goal: to take care of them in the best possible way!
This humanization of medical support is crucial so that the professionals involved are true allies of the patient during their journey, which also influences their loyalty.
Greater commitment to treatment
As said previously, the combination of different alternative methods with traditional ones contribute to the empowerment of the patient, making them more aware of the role they play in their health, since they share with health professionals the responsibility for the success of the treatment.
This increases interest and motivation to follow the specialists’ recommendations and even allows them to maintain good habits after being discharged.
More quality of life
As long as alternative methods are aligned with the patient’s lifestyle, they will be able to provide peace of mind, joy and hope, enhancing the results of conventional treatment and increasing the chances of recovery.
Another positive factor for health is the possibility of reducing traditional medication, incorporating natural active ingredients. The good results and well-being achieved will also serve as an incentive to continue preventive practices.
Reduction of health expenses;
The more aware the patient is of the habits that influence their health, the more seriously they will take the professionals’ guidance and will not need to invest in new medications, treatments, exams and even surgeries.
Scenario of integrative medicine in Chile
The Ministry of Health has defined and implemented a series of interventions aimed at the recognition and regulation of the practice of alternative (non-conventional) medicine practices, with the purpose of incorporating some of them into the national health system.
As a legal basis for the above, it is stated that: “In 2005, Decree No. 42 was issued that regulates the exercise of alternative (complementary) medical practices as auxiliary health professions and the conditions of the facilities in which these are carried out.” they perform. Based on this framework regulation, Acupuncture (Decree No. 123/2008), Homeopathy (Decree No. 19/2010) and Naturopathy (Decree No. 5/2013) have been evaluated and recognized as auxiliary health professions.”
It is important to highlight that among the Complementary Alternative Medicines “CAM” that are most practiced in the country are: Homeopathy, Acupuncture, Naturopathy, Chiropractic, Syntergetics, Floral Therapies, Apitherapy, among others.
It is assumed that currently, all medicines (conventional and alternative) work in a complementary way, which is why we speak of Integrative Medicine.
Proof of the acceptance that this concept has had in Chile has been the transformation of the Integrative Medicine Unit of the Hospital Clínico de la U. de Chile (HCUCH ) , which incorporated strategies such as acupuncture, music therapy and mindfulness, in addition to other complementary therapies that aim to humanize health care.
Just like them, other clinics, hospitals and medical centers have taken a turn by incorporating a multidimensional team of professionals who work based on integrative medicine.