Integrative health is an interdisciplinary field
Integrative health is practiced by blending both Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and conventional medicine. It employs a collaborative team approach guided by consensus building, mutual respect, and a shared vision of health. It is embodied by a partnership between patient and practitioners to treat the whole person by synergistically combining therapies and services1. At Halebee we believe taking an integrative health approach allows you to emphasize the best of both worlds!
How do you integrate your health care?
By creating a partnership between you and your practitioners. You can begin by talking to your primary care provider about your health goals and work together to create a type 2 diabetes treatment plan that works for you. Don’t forget to tell your primary care provider about your CAM usage. Do you practice yoga? Tell your doctor. Are you taking any supplements? Tell your doctor. Are you eating a special diet? Tell your doctor. By telling all of your practitioners about all of your health practices, you can begin to integrate your health care and make sure that your practices are working together to enhance your wellness.
Focus on wellness
Integrative health comes out of a health philosophy focused on health and wellness and not diagnosis and disease. It’s time to stop focusing on the microscopic view of symptom alleviation and open your heart and mind to a broader approach to health and wellness. This means taking a whole systems or macroscopic view of your health. Consider your environment, mental health, social interactions, and purpose in life.
The body is a miraculous thing and is working 24/7 to stay healthy and to heal itself. We are a naturally self-healing organism and given the right environment, our bodies should heal themselves from issues relatively quickly. I am in awe when I watch my body heal cuts and wounds seemingly like magic! That very same healing process takes place inside the body as well. Through Halebee’s group classes, you can take a look at how the body tries to maintain balance and heal itself of a chronic illness like T2DM.
Some features of integrative health:
The patient-practitioner relationship
Our integrative health philosophy emphasizes practices that enrich patient care in the following ways: engaging with patient narrative; practitioner collaboration; and the facilitation of patient empowerment. In engaging with the patient narrative, the practitioner takes an active listening role as they share conversation that explores the entire patient experience. The practitioner works with the patient to collaborate on diagnoses and treatment protocols. The goal of which is the patient feeling empowered in their health outcomes. These practices will strengthen the patient-provider relationship, and indeed this relationship is a concept that contributes to the working definition of integrative health. Studies have shown that good communication can better health outcomes.2 Halebee strives to elevate our communication practices with our clients, because we believe they can contribute to positive outcomes.
The positive placebo effect
These integrative health communication practices “evoke context (placebo) effects that are fundamental to the overall effectiveness of herbal treatment”3 (Snow, 2016, p. 55). The placebo effects are the beneficial effects that derive from the entirety of the context of the encounter, where a patient’s hope of relief provided by the placebo effects requires intervention from others rather than a self-generated responses to illness and disease4. The placebo effect has been much studied over the last twenty years, and it is noted that the biopsychosocial dynamic of the practitioners authority and their ability to comfort, “as well as anxiety reduction, generated by the healer are likely to activate the placebo effect” (Miller et al., 2009, p. 12). Snow states that, “the expectancy of positive health outcomes, based on the intersection of chemosensory perception and personal experience”(page 56) also help the patient have faith in the herbal formula. For example, the ability to taste a tea or tincture can give the patient more belief that it will work than a tasteless pill alone. Halebee’s counseling program generates an environment of positive effects by promoting evidence-based practices, proven to improve health in people living with prediabetes and T2DM.
More resources for you on wellness and integrative health:
- For a full list of integrative health topics on diabetes you can check out our diabetes A-Z Health Index!
- Boon, H., Verhoef, M., O’Hara, D., & Findlay, B. (2004) From parallel practice to integrative health care: a conceptual framework. BMC Health Services Research 4:15
- Stewart MA. Effective physician-patient communication and health outcomes: a review. CMAJ. 1995 May 1;152(9):1423-33. PMID: 7728691; PMCID: PMC1337906.
- Snow, J. (2016). Context effects in western herbal medicine: Fundamental to effectiveness? Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 12(1), 55-62. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2015.10.004
Miller, F.G., Colloca, L., & Kaptchuk, T.J. (2009) The placebo effect: illness and interpersonal healing. Perspectives in Biological Medicine 52(4):518. doi:10.1353/pbm.0.0115