What is Integrative Medicine?

A lot of people ask, "What is Integrative Medicine?"

I often respond by describing it as a philosophy of care that aims to improve a patient's health rather than simply manage their disease. I tell them that folks come to us to improve their health in a way that gets them or keeps them off of medications. Because we spend so much of our focus on improving lifestyle to optimize health, I'll often refer to it as "lifestyle medicine". Other synonyms include functional, holistic or alternative. 

But Integrative Medicine is bigger than that. It's more important than that. In a word, it's about care. It's about connecting with our patients and having a relationship. It's spending the time to listen to their entire health journey and helping to guide them through it in a way that makes sense to them, all the while supporting and encouraging them. 

Yes, we do some of the fancy, in-depth testing of digestive function, genetics, hormone balance and predictive biomarker analysis that rarely get tested in the conventional model. These are part of our "tool bag" of care. But the core is just care.

I call it the Art of Medicine. So much of health care nowadays is population-based, cookbook care. Have a symptom? They have a diagnosis and a prescription for it. There is no relationship or connection in that, and rarely is anyone's health improved. Certainly there are exceptions to this like surgery for appendicitis or trauma. In those cases, we need acute health care, and integrative care can wait for guiding the body back to health after recovery. 

Here's what a few pretty smart folks say about the Art of Medicine:
"The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease." Voltaire
"Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity." Hippocrates

So what is Integrative Medicine? It's listening. It's empathizing. It's connecting. It's educating. It's empowering. It's care.

Have you longed for a medical visit that puts you first? An experience that truly listens to your story? That takes into account your past medical experiences and testing, your likes and dislikes, your beliefs? A visit where the practitioner is dedicated to helping you achieve and maintain your best health possible? Then you’ve been looking for Integrative Medicine. You are welcome here, and get ready for a remarkable experience.

Contributed by:

Dr. Jeffrey Gladd


Dr. Jeffrey Gladd graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2001. He then went on to train in family medicine...

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Dr. Jeffrey Gladd
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