- Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process. The IM practitioner is seen as a catalyst for transformation, not a prescriber of medicines.
- All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including body, mind, spirit, and community.
- The broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount, alongside the concept of treatment.
- Identification and correction of the root causes of the patient’s illness. To see “dis-ease” or symptoms as the messenger, and the process of healing as a journey of personal discovery and liberation.
- Appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
- Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive should be used whenever possible.
- Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.
- Integrative medicine is evidence-based, enquiry driven and open to new paradigms.
- Practitioners of integrative medicine should exemplify its principles and commit themselves to self-exploration and self-development.
N.B. Some international IM organisations define IM as a combination of Allopathic (Western Medicine) and evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Here in South Africa, we have the Allied Health Professions Council (AHPCSA) which officially regulates 11 CAM disciplines. Therefore, IM practitioners have to be registered with the AHPCSA in order to practice any of these modalities. Medical doctors are only able to include limited CAM within their scopes of practice.
“All outcome studies must assess the efficacy of integrated protocols in their entirety and not of individual therapies. This is a point of crucial importance.”
Prof Majid Ali
Editor, Journal of Integrative Medicine,
Professor of Medicine, Capital University of Integrative Medicine