Integrative Medicine

What is Integrative Medicine?

Integrative Medicine is whole person medicine, using safe and effective modalities to treat dis-ease and support health.

As Integrative practitioners, we facilitate the patient’s healing journey through a therapeutic relationship, raising awareness and empowering the patient to experience personal growth, while realizing their potential and reaching optimal health. (SASIM Indaba, February 2022)

“The Integrative Medicine paradigm-shift suggests that there are no obstacles, only stepping stones.”
Dr Bernard Brom, Founder

Defining Principles

  1. Patient and practitioner are partners in the healing process. The IM practitioner is seen as a catalyst for transformation, not a prescriber of medicines.
  2. All factors that influence health, wellness, and disease are taken into consideration, including body, mind, spirit, and community.
  3. The broader concepts of health promotion and the prevention of illness are paramount, alongside the concept of treatment.
  4. 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.
  5. Appropriate use of both conventional and alternative methods to facilitate the body’s innate healing response.
  6. Effective interventions that are natural and less invasive should be used whenever possible.
  7. Integrative medicine neither rejects conventional medicine nor accepts alternative therapies uncritically.
  8. Integrative medicine is evidence-based, enquiry driven and open to new paradigms.
  9. 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

Related fields

Functional Medicine

Functional Medicine is an evolution in the practice of medicine that better addresses the healthcare needs of the 21st century. By shifting the traditional disease-centred focus of medical practice to a more patient-centred approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.

Functional Medicine practitioners spend time with their patients, listening to their histories and evaluating the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.

Anti-Aging Medicine

Anti-aging Medicine is a clinical specialty is founded on the application of advanced scientific and medical technologies for the early detection, prevention, treatment, and reversal of age-related dysfunction, disorders, and diseases. It is a healthcare model promoting innovative science and research to prolong the healthy lifespan in humans.

Anti-aging Medicine complements regenerative medicine, as both specialties embrace cutting-edge biomedical technologies aimed at achieving benefits for both the quality and quantity of the human lifespan.

Orthomolecular Medicine

The basis for the development of Orthomolecular Medicine, was the understanding based on clinical experience that a great deal of ill health had at its roots a deficiency of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. While classic deficiency diseases were very uncommon in industrialized countries, there were a large number of individuals suffering from insufficiency of nutrients, which were contributing to ill health.

These deficiencies meant that the system was not functioning optimally and that various enzyme systems and other metabolic processes would be compromised. Ill health can be the result of a real nutritional deficiency, because the diet may be inadequate, or a deficiency resulting from various inherited enzyme abnormalities leading to nutrient deficiencies.