Maimonides once said, “The physician should not treat the disease but the patient who is suffering from it.” Maimonides is making a great point! The healthcare system has become so accustomed to treating specific diseases that they can be blind to individual patient needs. Think of the example of a patient who was just told they have cancer. The patient wants to know if it can be cured and the best treatment options. Health care professionals offer treatment to treat the manifestations or to ease the pain but not always to cure the individual. If the patient is advised to fight the disease with chemotherapy, they will be made aware of the side effects but may not understand the physical and emotional demand. After going through with chemotherapy they most likely will become constantly exhausted, nauseous, emotionally drained and physically diminished. This is why I am very interested in continuing to learn more about Integrative Medicine. Integrative Medicine challenges the mainstream by finding ways to restore health using safe and natural remedies to treat all aspects of their patient, including the mind, body, and spirit. .
An increasing number of professionals are beginning to use integrative approaches for health and wellness within the United States due to the fact that they have become frustrated with conventional medicine. The side effects from some medicines can actually result in more significant sickness than the base diagnosis. The NCCIH is currently doing funded research on cancer patients, and they state “Cancer patients who receive integrative therapies while in the hospital have less pain and anxiety” (NIH). Integrative therapies also put more emphasis on healing the whole person, “the goal is to help patients feel and function better and reduce their need for pain medicines that can have serious side effects.” (NIH) One of the most important dimensions the IOM pushes for integrating around and within the individual patient, it is the embodiment of the patient-centered care.