What is the difference, if any, between complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine?
We used to call it complementary medicine, which is something in addition or that ‘complements’ mainstream medicine. Alternative medicine suggests it is used instead of, or to replace traditional medicine, which is not what is recommended. The current term, ‘integrative medicine’, signifies the integration of non-traditional treatments and practices into a patient’s overall care.
Why do people turn to integrative medicine?
It has become a major movement largely because of patients. They are looking for care for things that is not handled all that well in modern medicine. It is great at treating a broken leg or a heart attack. But for things like chronic pain, or disease-related stress, modern medicine doesn’t have all the answers.
There are increasing numbers of patients who would rather not have medicine if they can avoid it. They would rather try manipulation like acupuncture or practice hypnosis or mindfulness. Interest in integrative medicine is growing.