When most patients visit their allopathic doctor, the time is spent trying to quickly arrive at a diagnosis which the physician can use to prescribe a treatment. In our Western medical system, this treatment usually consists of a medication, a procedure, or a surgery. While these treatments are certainly necessary and helpful in some cases, we see that the majority of patients, particularly those with chronic illnesses, are imperfectly served.
In contrast, using the integrative medicine approach, we look at the patient’s complaints in their entirety. By taking a step back and looking at the interconnections, we are able to see patterns, commonalities, and interventions that will benefit across multiple different areas. For example, I recently saw a 49-year-old man who was suffering from chronic abdominal pain, constipation, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, and mild depression. After a thorough intake, I had several recommendations for him:
- Testing to look at his gastrointestinal function in detail to search for hidden infections or imbalances in digestion and absorption
- Specialized testing for the function of his thyroid and adrenal hormones
- Diet change, specifically that he avoid foods that contribute to inflammation including grains, sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats
- Begin basic supplements including a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids, a probiotic, magnesium, and some supplements specific for sleep
- Incorporate more movement into his life, and spend time each day focusing on emotions of appreciation and gratitude
When he came back to see me five weeks later when the test results had returned, he stated that he already felt 60-70% better, was having regular bowel movements, sleeping well, and his moods were “better than they had been in 15 years.” And this was before we addressed the imbalances and abnormalities that we had discovered on testing. When we properly addressed these, a few months later, he said that he had more vitality than he could remember having since before he was in college.