What is Integrative Therapy?


There can be many choices to make when it comes to finding ways to get healthier. Working with your medical doctor or provider is the first place to start. This is called conventional medicine. It is becoming more and more common for conventional medicine therapy to include alternative types of therapy. This is called "integrative therapy". Integrative Therapy is often used interchangeably with "complementary therapy" or "alternative therapy", but there is a significant difference.

Licensed healthcare professionals who practice integrative medicine blend these techniques with mainstream methods of treatment. Integrative therapy is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Instead, these techniques are used together with conventional treatment to promote a sense of improved well-being and help relieve discomfort.

One main benefit of using "integrative therapy" is that the health care practitioners who practice these techniques are considering a "whole person" or holistic approach to your treatments. Individual benefits for you may vary depending upon your personal needs. Many patients report that using Integrative Therapy techniques have helped them feel more relaxed as well as better manage their pain and anxiety.

The greatest risk of using Integrative Therapy is that some people will use these treatments instead of going to their doctor. This is not recommended. Integrative Therapy should be in addition to treatments by your doctor. Otherwise, you may miss important treatment that could save your life.

Some types of Integrative Therapy include:

Aromatherapy: Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.

The inhaled aroma from these "essential" oils is widely believed to stimulate brain function. Essential oils can also be absorbed through the skin, where they travel through the bloodstream and can promote whole-body healing. It is used for a variety of applications, including decreasing pain relief, decreasing nausea, and improving the ability to relax.

If you feel that you would like to include aromatherapy into your medical treatment, please talk to your nurse or medical practitioner and they will help assess how and what type of aromatherapy may help you! Making decisions without their guidance can be dangerous to your health. Remember, these are highly potent chemicals.

Massage Therapy: The term "massage therapy" encompasses many different techniques. In general, massage therapy involves pressing, rubbing, and otherwise manipulating the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Massage therapy is most often applied by the use of a practitioner's hands and fingers, but may also include the use of their forearms or elbows.

People use massage for a variety of health-related purposes, including to relieve pain, rehabilitate sports injuries, reduce stress, increase relaxation, address anxiety and depression, and aid general wellness.

Talk to your physician about any potential negative reasons why massage would not be indicated for you before getting a massage.

Music Therapy: Healthy individuals can use music for stress reduction via active music making, such as drumming, as well as passive listening for relaxation. Music is often a vital support for physical exercise. Music therapy assisted labor and delivery may also be included in this category since pregnancy is regarded as a normal part of women's life cycles.

Music is even used in hospitals and nursing homes to: alleviate pain in conjunction with anesthesia or pain medication: elevate patients' mood and counteract depression; promote movement for physical rehabilitation; calm or sedate, often to induce sleep; counteract apprehension or fear; and lessen muscle tension for the purpose of relaxation, including the autonomic nervous system.

Spiritual Care: Some people find meaning, comfort, hope, goodness and community through their religious practice, beliefs and/or community of faith. Some people do not. Regardless of whether religious faith is a part of a person's life, spiritual concerns, resources and needs can still be very important, especially as it relates to your health and well-being.

There have been numerous studies conducted over the past 50 years that show a person's health and well-being benefits when his or her spiritual needs are addressed. Some benefits include: better pain management, improved motivation to complete other tasks of staying healthy, improved cardiovascular needs such as heart rate and blood pressure and an improved sense of well-being.

Therapeutic Touch: Therapeutic Touch is a technique used for stress reduction and relaxation. It is a form of integrative therapy in which hands are placed just off of the body or lightly touching the body by a trained practitioner while you lie or sit. For this therapy you stay fully clothed.

During Therapeutic Touch, the practitioner will purposely focus thoughts on positivity and your health. Patients report that they experience relaxation and peacefulness during the session. Therapeutic Touch is now even used in a growing number of hospitals and clinics throughout the United States and the world.


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