Integrative medicine

Find a balance between traditional, holistic medicine for well-rounded approach

By Deb Dittner

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

— Jim Rohn

Integrative health care exercises the use of leading therapeutic choices from traditional Western medicine as well as holistic processes, also called complementary and alternative therapies.

The integrative medicine approach is patient-centered and focuses on the mind, body, and spirit. It takes into account the whole person, looking at all lifestyle views, while creating a healthy relationship between practitioner and patient.

Integrative medicine/health care places the patient at the center of care.

It looks at and speaks to a wide range of needs from physical, mental, emotional, environmental, spiritual, social, and behavioral systems then applies all the appropriate therapies for the healing process to take place. To use whole nutrient-dense foods, physical movement, herbs and supplementation, acupuncture, meditation, and lifestyle changes is an approach I feel very passionate about and support. I do agree though that there is a time and place where Western medicine is necessary despite all good intentions.

It is important that you take an active part in your health, not just when you may become ill, but from the get-go. Take a look at your lifestyle. Are you eating whole nutrient-dense foods consisting of vegetables and fruits while decreasing highly inflammatory foods from dairy, meat and processed foods?

Are you getting enough sleep? Are you exercising? Are you taking time for just you? Are you looking toward the medicinal plant world to assist with certain symptoms such as turmeric with black pepper for inflammation?

Are you drinking enough pure filtered water?

Delve even deeper

Sometimes though, when you have taken all the steps toward better health through lifestyle changes, your body may still not feel at its tip-top. This is the time to seek additional support from your integrative health care team who may be able to delve deeper into your symptoms, lifestyle, and find a way to bring balance to your body once again.

This team approach from primary provider, nurses, health coaches, physical therapists, psychologists, and more marry integrative health care with conventional medicine and provides patients with the best of both worlds.

You need to value your life and health while investing in your overall well-being by controlling levels of stress, maintaining a healthy weight, prioritizing sleep, and eating a more plant-based diet.

Some say it costs too much to eat well or join a gym but there are ways to eat on a budget and increase your physical movement without a gym membership. A good night’s sleep is a natural detox and anti-aging strategy. Pure filtered water flushes toxins from the body.

By taking care of yourself, you will actually be saving money in the long run.

Currently, most health insurance plans do not cover integrative health care, sadly making it cost prohibitive for some. But by doing your research, you will find there are many modalities that will use a sliding scale and provide certain services at a reduced rate.

Prevention of disease is the first line of defense, but this is not always possible. Listen to your body. Know when it is out of balance. Do not ignore the symptoms your body may send to you.

You more than anyone know better when your body is out of balance. By incorporating integrative medicine into your health care regime, you will help your mind, body and spirit in the best ways possible.

• Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at or contact her at 518-596-8565.