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There are many definitions of “integrative” health care, but all involve bringing conventional and complementary approaches together in a coordinated way. According to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health the use of integrative approaches to health and wellness has grown within care settings across the United States. Researchers are currently exploring the potential benefits of integrative health in a variety of situations, including pain management for military personnel and veterans, relief of symptoms in cancer patients and survivors, and programs to promote healthy behaviors.

Healthy behaviors, such as eating right, getting enough physical activity, and not smoking, can reduce people’s risks of developing serious diseases. Can integrative approaches promote these types of behaviors? Researchers are working to answer this question. Preliminary research suggests that yoga and meditation-based therapies may help smokers quit, and NCCIH-funded studies are testing whether adding mindfulness-based approaches to weight control programs will help people lose weight more successfully.

Most integrative medicine approaches fall into one of two subgroups — natural products or mind and body practices. According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which included a comprehensive survey on the use of complementary health approaches by Americans, 17.7 percent of American adults had used a dietary supplement other than vitamins and minerals in the past year.

You can discover and connect with integrative medicine doctors at syncH.

Photo credit by Jenny Hill on Unsplash

About the Author

Aras Toker

Aras Toker

Crohn's Disease survivor, lifehacker, people connector, soccer fan, passionate about holistic medicine, believer in mind-body-soul connection