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What is Integrative Health?


You know our business is called Cary Integrative Health. But what exactly defines an integrative approach to health? Here’s a quick overview of what integrative health means–both in theory and in practice.


The integrative approach to health isn’t new, but the general public’s awareness of the approach has been on the rise for decades and has really entered the popular consciousness in the last 10 years or so.


That’s no surprise, really. As our healthcare systems become more and more fragmented and bottom-line driven, people are longing for a more holistic view of their own bodies…and searching for professionals who support them in that view. And that is exactly what integrative health offers.


So, what is integrative health?

Integrative health is a collaborative approach to healthcare, in practice and perspective

. It addresses the whole individual–body, mind, and spirit. Each team member at an integrative health practice brings different tools and expertise to the table–different parts of the healthcare puzzle. So the term “integrative” works on two levels: integrative health practitioners treat you as a person with fully integrated systems and the practitioners themselves work as an integrated team to offer you the best possible approach to wellness.


What does that mean in practice? If a person comes to our office with a health issue, he or she will be seen first by the practitioner with the most relevant experience treating that specific issue. That practitioner will then (with the person’s permission) share notes from the appointment with other practitioners in the practice, so as a team, they can help the person work toward regaining a healthy life.


For example, a person may visit initially to see our chiropractor. After an initial visit, our chiropractor may refer the person to the registered dietitian, the counselor, the physical therapist, or other practitioners for further help. Those practitioners will all know the patient’s medical history, current problem, lifestyle, and personality, so they can work as a team toward wellness.


Simple, right? But in an increasingly fragmented healthcare system, treating a person from multiple areas of expertise can feel revolutionary.


How is integrative health different from mainstream medicine?

Integrative health practitioners believe we can’t prescribe or inject our way to being a healthy, balanced individual. Instead, we focus on sustainable lifestyle changes that lead to overall wellness and balance. In other words, we focus on preventative health measures; when there is a health imbalance, we seek out the root of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms.


It’s important to note, though, that mainstream medicine (sometimes called allopathic medicine) is sometimes absolutely critical. In an abrupt accident, for example, mainstream medicine is lifesaving. The same is true for last-case-scenario treatments. However, integrative health practitioners believe mainstream medicine’s “prescribe it, inject it, or cut it” approach shouldn’t be the go-to protocol for healthy living. The two approaches can work in tandem, as needed.


What kind of training do integrative health practitioners have?

At Cary Integrative Health, our vetting process is extremely rigorous. Every practitioner in our practice has a graduate-level degree and a minimum of five years experience in their field. All are board-certified and licensed in NC–and often other states as well. Many of our practitioners are branching out from mainstream medicine. So while they’ve experienced a shift in their approach to health, they bring to Cary Integrative Medicine all their experience in a mainstream private practice. You can read more about our health team here.


Not every integrative health center holds such high requirements for its practitioners, however. So we encourage you to seek the professional history of whatever practitioner you choose to see.


The final word

Integrative health approaches health with the whole person in mind. After all, you are more than just a matrix of separate systems. Each part of your body, mind, spirit, and lifestyle impacts the finely-tuned, complex wholeness of you. We look forward to helping you find the most healthy, balanced way to move forward in all that life brings you.


To life and to health! We hope to see you at our Cary office soon.



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