Integrative healthcare brings together Western approaches to medicine, such as chemotherapy, surgery and other medicines, and combines them with more traditional, complementary approaches like nutrition, acupuncture and more. Integrative healthcare practitioners carefully coordinate these two approaches to treatment in order to care for all of their patients’ needs.
Integrative healthcare approaches may consist of complementary or alternative medicine treatments, such as:
- Functional nutrition
- Relaxation techniques
- Yoga or Tai Chi
Integrative healthcare practices are growing throughout the United States as more healthcare professionals use these techniques to improve their patients’ health and quality of life.
How integrative healthcare can benefit your practice
Whether you are a primary care physician, a masseuse, a nutritionist or a physical therapist, you can use integrative healthcare to enhance the care you provide to your patients. These practices allow you to offer your patients more treatment options to achieve a better lifestyle. These practices also strive to treat the causes of poor health conditions, such as poor diet, stress, or lack of exercise, instead of merely treating symptoms of a condition.
Every year, new research reveals ways to combine conventional and complementary healthcare practices. These studies have revealed that an integrated approach can benefit patients by:
- Reducing pain
- Improving symptoms of anxiety or depression
- Relieving stress
- Managing symptoms such as fatigue or poor appetite
- Improving quality of life
An integrative healthcare practice can provide truly personalized care to all patients. You can offer each patient more choices so they can receive the treatments that fits their lifestyle, needs and wants.
Using integrative healthcare practices, you can help your patients achieve a healthier lifestyle. Healthy lifestyles can mean patients need fewer medicines and other treatments, lower their risk for side effects and complications. A healthy lifestyle can also help your patients reduce their healthcare costs, as well as your practice’s costs.
How to Get Started with Integrative Healthcare
Each type of integrated healthcare requires different training and certification. Depending on what type of integrative healthcare you are interested in, you may need to take a single course or longer training program. You may also need to complete exams to become certified.
Examples of integrative healthcare certifications include:
- The American Herbalists Guild offers certification as an AHG Registered Herbalist after you complete a herbalism course.
- You can receive board certification in Holistic Nutrition® from the National Association of Nutrition Professionals, as well as many other specialist certifications, after completing a functional nutrition training program.
- Though there are not currently certifications for Ayurveda professionals, you can take Ayurveda courses and register with the National Ayurvedic Medical Association.
- The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners certifies chiropractors after years of study and training.
- The Yoga Alliance offers certification for instructors who have completed training at a registered Yoga school.
Portland Community College offers a variety of integrative healthcare courses to help you add these treatment methods to your practice. We help a variety of healthcare providers, from doctors to chiropractors and more, provide their patients with a wider range of treatment options. Learn more about our integrative healthcare programs.