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Integrative Medicine Career
By Ashley Boyce, an allied health world staff writer
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Integrative medicine is a unique and revolutionary form of medicine that involves the applied use of conventional western medical techniques while embracing an Integral Worldview that accepts all known natural and alternative concepts of healing. This form of medicine is sometimes referred to as the “third path” for patients with chronic and undiagnosed conditions since it offers answers that neither conventional nor natural medicine by themselves have been able to. Dr. Hall, pioneer and practitioner of Integral Medicine, answers questions about a career spent practicing integrative medicine:
What is the job market like for practitioners of integrative medicine?The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects solid growth in the number of employed specialized physicians, including family practice doctors, in the coming years. According to a recent BLS publication it is expected that the number of employed physicians in specialized practice will grow by 14% in just the next few years.
Dr. Hall described a change in attitude by the medical community that has been reflected in public sentiment, “A few years ago things changed such that it became politically incorrect in the medical community to bash alternative medicine. The medical community has begun to embraced some of these ideas.”
This recognition of the benefits of alternative approaches to medicine has led to a dramatic increase in the demand for services provided by those who are well versed in natural medicine and the various modalities of healing bodywork. This is also evident in the fact that schools of alternative medicine and bodywork are beginning to offer more options for those interested in pursuing integrative medicine programs.
What types of medical issues do practitioners of integrative medicine address?Dr. Hall and other medical practitioners who share a similar Integral Worldview, very often find themselves working with people who have had ongoing medical issues that conventional medicine has been unable to help them resolve. Dr. Hall explains, “These people don’t get help because their issues cross multi-specialty lines. People with fibromyalgia have sleep issues and immune deficiency, hormone imbalance, and digestive problems. They’ve got aches and pains so they tend to visit the rheumatologist, but he’s not going to treat their sleep problem or their adrenal fatigue, or their digestive problems.”
Dr. Hall began to apply the integral worldview in his medical practice years ago as a way to help people resolve issues that conventional medicine had no answers for. He explained, “I just had this gut feeling that something was at the root of what these people were experiencing: chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, and fibromyalgia, kids with ADD, kids with autism.” He went on to explain how the Integral Worldview applied to medicine is often able to provide answers that conventional or even natural medicine alone cannot, “That’s one of the advantages of Integral Medicine; you can literally see the person as a whole person rather than as separately functioning organ systems.”
Practitioners of integrative medicine represent the most well-rounded and universally knowledgeable segment of the medical community so their scope of practice generally isn’t limited to treating only certain physical ailments. These conventionally trained and uniquely skilled physicians are able to apply the principals of western medicine or alternative healing modalities based on what is most appropriate for their individual patients.
Some common ailments addressed through integrative medicine would include: Adrenal Fatigue, chronic fatigue (Fibromyalgia), hormone imbalance, allergies, asthma, skin conditions, menopause by use of natural hormones, chemical sensitivities, ADD and ADHD in both children and adults, headaches, back and neck pain, digestive issues, car accident injuries, general fatigue, immune system imbalances, arthritis, addictions, sleep disorders, physical and emotional traumas (PTSD), chronic pain or illness, auto-immune diseases, newborn cranial treatment, and many other unusual or undiagnosed conditions. Doctors of integrative medicine may also perform Lifestyle-Wellness evaluations to help individuals stay healthy.