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What Is Integrative Medicine? Alternative Treatment Options Aimed at Treating Your Specific Needs

What Is Integrative Medicine?

Learn More at Our Scottsdale Integrative Medical Center

What Is Integrative Medicine? How does it relate to Homeopathic Medicine in Arizona? Who has jurisdiction over the field of Integrative Medicine?

A major challenge for medicine in this century is the need to move beyond the Newtonian concept of "diagnosis" of late-stage physical ailment and the application of a label called a "disease". We are faced with an epidemic of chronic illness which we, as allopathic practitioners, with our limited toolkit of pharmaceutical drugs, ionizing radiation, and surgery, are ill-equipped to treat. One has only to look at the increasingly expensive treatments offered through standard allopathic care, largely covered and paid for by "health" insurance, with increasingly disappointing results to the patient who is looking for improvement in health.

If we were equipped to treat obesity, cardiometabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease and cancer, our population would be healthy. Instead, we see increasing rates of obesity, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune disease and cancer, despite the very best of medical care that allopathic medicine has to offer.

Call (480) 418-0220 today to speak with the staff at our Scottsdale integrative medical center.

The State of Affairs in Traditional Medicine

Some of the patients who choose to see an "alternative" or "integrative" or "homeopathic" practitioner do so because their regular insurance-based allopathic practitioner is unable to give them a physical diagnosis, or simply gives them a pill to mask their symptoms rather than actually digging for the cause of the symptoms, or gives them a pill which causes "side effects" for which more pills are given, in a vicious cycle.

Others of these patients come to the "alternative" or "integrative" or "homeopathic" practitioner because they have been told that all their tests are negative, and they were offered a pill - generally an anti-depressant - to help them "feel better." We call such patients the "Expensive Clinic Rejects".

And now that some conventional allopathic medicine organizations like the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) are beginning to use the term "Integrative Medicine" to mean conventional medicine plus some supplements or yoga, the field becomes even more confusing for patients.[1]

Shifting the Paradigm

To be told that the cause of one's symptoms is psychological rather than physical is deeply offensive to some people - particularly to those who have a clear albeit undiagnosed functional disturbance. The fact that an article on this very topic appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2002 - calling for a "paradigm shift" - is instructive.

"We propose a paradigm shift in which unexplained symptoms are remedicalized around the notion of a functional disturbance of the nervous system and treatments currently considered "psychiatric" are integrated into general medical care."[2]

Functional disturbances are all very well and good, but if they cannot be tested because the patient cannot afford the tests (since their "health" insurance often does not cover the testing), of what utility is identifying the potential for such disturbance?

The History of Homeopathic Medicine

Homeopathic medicine came into being in the 19th century with Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, who stopped using the standard allopathic treatments of his day because he felt the effect of the treatments was worse than the effect of the disease. From the perspective of advanced homeopathic medicine, all disease or dysfunction is considered to be an external manifestation of an internal bio-energetic disorder unique to the individual. Homeopathic medicine looks for that substance which will correct the energetic defects or dysfunctions unique to a given individual, and restore that individual to the original template of full health.

As technology has advanced, we have learned how to measure energetic dysfunctions and departures from the original template. We are now able to treat with substances which can restore the harmony of the information systems which subtend the body's cellular function, right down to the level of the DNA. These substances may include things like electromagnetic energy, homeopathic remedies, combination remedies, and even physical remedies such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fatty acids.

Functional Medicine teaches us how to modify our diet and lifestyle in order to reconfigure those epigenetic DNA switches.

About Homeopathic Treatments

Homeopathic medicine carries the potential to modify these switches, and can thus restore full functionality to the physical organism.*

Chiropractic Medicine teaches their "Diagnosis and Internal Disorders" diplomates the art of diagnosis and nutritional treatment of chronic disease through the use of nutrition, nutritional supplements and spinal manipulation.

Allopathic medicine has not yet put into clinical practice the ability to modify DNA switches which have been turned off or on by environmental toxins. An open access article published as recently as 2012 talks about epigenetic modification, but appears to consider only pharmaceutical "tailor made" molecules in its description of potential treatments.[3]

Not once is the word "sulforaphane" mentioned, although we can read about its effectiveness in the allopathic scientific literature.[4]

Going Beyond Allopathic Medicine

Allopathic medicine uses various measurable forms of bioenergetics medicine:

  • MRI
  • EKG
  • EEG
  • Xray

It even utilizes sometimes the metabolic processes of the cells themselves for diagnosis - as with PET scan which uses radioactively labeled glucose incorporation into rapidly metabolizing cells.

But allopathic medicine has not yet stepped forward into the realm of more subtle manifestations of bioenergetic medicine, including:

  • Homeopathic remedies
  • Rife frequencies
  • QXCI
  • BioMeridian
  • Asyra
  • Zyto
  • Chiren

Allopathic medicine also hasn't admitted that there may be energies which are invisible to the eye beyond those few that are considered acceptable to the establishment and covered by "health" insurance.

At the most, we talk about "laying on of hands" which has become marginally acceptable - although not covered by insurance - if it doesn't get in the way of our more profitable and sometimes more damaging treatments like surgery or pharmaceutical treatment.

The American Medical Association

The American Medical Association was established in 1846, two years after the founding of the American Institute of Homeopathy, the nation's very first national medical society. Allopaths were called quacks in the 19th century and even before, because they used "quicksilver," (which we now call mercury) or "quack silver", as medicine. Homeopaths did not support the use of caustic or poisonous pharmaceuticals; homeopathy was the predominant form of medicine at the start of the 20th century. Allopaths continue to use mercury and aluminum to this very day, in the form of adjuvants and preservatives in many medications called vaccines. And yet the sobriquet of "quack" has been transferred to those who practice homeopathic and/or integrative medicine.

In 1855, the AMA incorporated a code of ethics that included expulsion of physicians who even consulted with homeopaths or other "un-scientific" practitioners. In 1996, almost 150 years later, Dr. Grout was instructed by a hospital administrator and a director of Emergency Medicine that she was NOT to refer patients outside the bounds of traditional allopathic medicine. She had been referring patients with chronic back pain to a neuromuscular massage therapist because those patients she saw in the ER were tired of being given narcotics - which was the form of therapy apparently preferred by the hospital establishment.

The Council on Medical Education

In 1908 the newly formed AMA Council on Medical Education wrote to Andrew Carnegie to propose a collaboration with the purpose of reforming medical education. The Carnegie Foundation was allied with the Rockefellers, who heavily invested first in oil, then in pharmaceutical companies. It was decided to hire Abraham Flexner to investigate the 155 U. S. and Canadian medical schools.

Abraham Flexner was an unemployed schoolmaster in 1908, with depleted resources, looking for a job. He was employed by the Carnegie Foundation, with the help of his brother, the director of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, and President Ira Remsen of the Johns Hopkins University. His task was to make a report on the state of medical education in the United States. Flexner himself had no experience with medical schools or medical education. Sir William Osler, on the faculty of Johns Hopkins, expressed the opinion that Flexner was unqualified to make any judgment of the adequacy of any medical education.

Flexner began his duties in 1908. Visits to facilities were rushed (in most cases, less than one day was spent), and sometimes unaccompanied by school officials (at one school rooms were unlocked for Flexner by a janitor). His findings, not surprisingly, heavily favored the allopathic medical schools, and decried preceptorships and all other forms of medical education.

Flexner's findings, not surprisingly, heavily favored the medical schools which supported the use of pharmaceutical medicine and "science-based" medicine. The Journal of the American Medical Association announced that "[a]lthough there may be statements of detail which might be criticized in the Foundation's report, generally speaking the statements made are recognized as the truth by those who are in a position to judge." The New York State Journal of Medicine berated the Carnegie Foundation for attempting to "dictate the policies ... to wipe out institutions with the stroke of a pen" and thereby "threaten the freedom" of medical schools."

Despite (or perhaps because of) the clear bias against all forms of medical treatment other than allopathic, the report was widely acclaimed by the allopathic medical community. Medicine in America was shifting from its early emphasis on prevention and health (through the homeopathic model) to a model of disease management. Influential forces promoted "allopathic" medicine, the suppression of symptoms through the use of substances foreign to the body.

Tody's Bias in Medicine

We have experienced that bias in the allopathic treatment of chiropractic practitioners. The chiropractic profession was finally able to achieve governmental (and, more importantly for them, insurance) recognition after long court battles. However, to this day, a lecture given by a chiropractor with years of experience in metabolic and nutritional medicine is not counted for "AMA Category I" credit when Medical Doctors report their continuing medical education hours to their allopathic medical boards and specialty associations.

Americans are beginning to demand more than symptom management. They are realizing that the "disease management" model is not providing anything to re-establish their health. The famous "war on cancer" has not fared much better than the equally famous "war on drugs".

Nobody would deny that when gangrene sets in, it may be necessary to amputate the leg in order to save the patient's life. When the appendix is acutely inflamed and ready to burst, it is certainly in the patient's best interests at that moment to remove it surgically. When there is overwhelming infection, antibiotics are the best way to treat - if the organism is sensitive to them. However, when we begin to treat "prophylactically" with antibiotics, we risk the development of antibiotic-resistant organisms - which we are currently seeing, both in our hospitals and on our farms and feedlots.

We see patients with metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and are now recommending bariatric surgery to these patients - ignoring the current medical literature which outlines the major metabolic disturbances which occur in many of these patients months or years after their intestinal tracts have been compromised surgically.

The images of war are no longer acceptable. Our patients are realizing that it is long past time for us to stop treating our bodies and the organisms which cohabit with our bodies as though they were the enemy. We are beginning to realize that we are all in this existence together, and that if one part is unhealthy, all parts suffer.

What Patients Need

The patients who come to a doctor increasingly want to find out what went wrong and how to fix it at the fundamental level. And when they are given brief office visit and a prescription for pharmaceuticals by their "insurance" doctor, they start looking around for doctors who are not beholden to insurance companies for their livelihood, and who are willing to spend the time that it takes to re-learn basic biochemistry and physiology so that they can provide more effective treatment for their patients.

By 2009, it was estimated that 38% of all Americans spent almost $39 billion on various non-allopathic treatments. Medical schools started to take notice, incorporating some version of "alternative medicine" into their curricula. One Institution, the University of Arizona, began to offer a Fellowship in Integrative Medicine in the year 2000. It seems curious that the faculty involved with this fellowship program has not participated in the Arizona Board of Homeopathic and Integrated Medicine Examiners, or in the professional society, the Arizona Homeopathic and Integrative Medicine Association.

In 2010 or thereabouts, the Arizona Medical Board published a document on their website entitled: The Arizona Medical Board's Guidelines For Physicians Who Incorporate Or Use Complementary Or Alternative Medicine In Their Practice. The gist of the document lies in the second paragraph: "developed these guidelines for physicians who use CAM[5] to assist them in doing so in a manner that is consistent with the Board's expectations and to inform the public of CAM and its uses in Arizona." This, despite the fact that already in 2009 almost 40% of Americans admitted to using some form of "alternative" or "complementary" therapy without the guidance of the allopathic medical boards.

Alternative Modality

According to the Arizona Medical Board's document, all allopathic physicians who utilize any form of complementary or alternative modality in their practice must first make a diagnosis of the patient's condition - in other words, they are obligated to adhere to the Newtonian concept of "diagnosis" of late-stage physical ailment and application of a label called a "disease". Already, unwittingly or by design, the Board of Medicine has eliminated the concept of functional alteration of metabolic processes as the most appropriate means of determining dysfunction and enabling restoration of health. There appears to be little understanding of the concept promulgated in the 19th century by Antoine Beauchamp that the biologic terrain of the patient who has the disease (i.e. the metabolic dysfunction) is far more important to treat than the organ system which is affected (i.e. the diagnosis).

In the Textbook of Functional Medicine[6] published in 2005, we read:

Functional medicine is a dynamic approach to assessing, preventing, and treating complex chronic disease... Functional medicine acknowledges that chronic disease is almost always preceded by a lengthy period of declining function in one or more of the body's systems. Returning patients to health requires reversing (or substantially improving) the specific dysfunctions that have contributed to the disease state. Those dysfunctions are, for each of us, the result of lifelong interactions among our environment, our lifestyle, and our genetic predispositions"

Focusing predominantly on organ system diagnosis without examining the underlying physiology that produced the patient's signs, symptoms, and disease often leads to managing patient care by matching diagnosis to pharmacology. The job of the healthcare provider then becomes a cookbook exercise in finding the right "recipe"- the drug or procedure that best fits the diagnosis (not necessarily the patient). Every medical problem thus becomes a personal health issue in search of a pharmacological agent or surgical procedure.

Physicians never went to medical school to learn cookbook recipes, but that is how we are impelled to practice in the 21st century. It is no wonder that patients are moving their allegiance to physicians who see and treat them as individuals with functional deficiencies, rather than as patients with one of a limited number of diagnoses requiring one or two or three of a limited number of drugs (or surgery) for treatment. Treatment for one patient with migraine headaches may be completely different from another patient with exactly the same symptoms, based on their biochemical individuality.

What Integrative Medicine Can Do For You

Integrative Medicine combines the best of allopathic medicine with the best of homeopathic and bioenergetic medicine, in an effort to describe functionally the altered metabolic processes that subtend the onset of histopathologically defined disease, and to treat dysfunction based on restoration of normal metabolic processes.

Integrative Medicine combines the best of allopathic medicine with the best of homeopathic and bioenergetic medicine.

In treating such dysfunction, it is not always possible to rely upon what the American Medical Association calls "evidence based medicine", as required by the recent Arizona Medical Board document mentioned previously. In this form of rating of various treatments, the lowest grade is given to that evidence which is based on "Expert opinion without explicit critical appraisal, or based on physiology, bench research or first principles". And yet, treatment based on physiology is what is most conducive to restoration of health.

The Arizona State Board of Homeopathic and Integrated Medicine well understands the biochemical and energetic individuality of each patient. The Arizona State Board of Medical Examiners states in the CAM position paper that "the standards used in evaluating health care practices must be consistent, whether such practices are regarded as conventional or CAM."

The document continues: "The physician must design the treatment plan to timely and effectively treat the patient's diagnosis, [please note that the document does not mention treating the actual patient] provide for continued monitoring of the patient's condition or illness and perform all further testing, consultations, and referrals consistent with the standard of care."

And most curiously, "A physician's personal experience, patient testimony and other anecdotal evidence is not sufficient evidence to support a claim of a treatment's efficacy and safety."

Addressing Every Aspect of Health

Integrative medicine - true integrative medicine - uses many modalities to diagnose dysfunction and effect treatment. These modalities may range from conventional allopathic, surgical and pharmaceutical to homeopathic to bioenergetic to bioelectrical to orthomolecular (functional biologic terrain assessment) to manipulative (chiropractic, osteopathic, massage, Tai Qi, massage) to neural injection therapies with homeopathic remedies. All of these modalities may be effective in certain patients. None is necessarily effective in all patients. And until we realize that one size does not fit all, and that standards of care are not necessarily applicable to all patients, we will continue to have the struggle between conventional allopathic medicine and those practitioners who espouse other forms of the healing arts.

Homeopathic medical licensure in the State of Arizona includes all the above modalities to varying degrees. Homeopathic medicine recognizes that medicine is an art much more than a science.

Not all homeopathic practitioners utilize all the modalities available to them in their care of patients. All the modalities require special training in addition to what was received during medical school, internship and residency training. Most practitioners have undergone hundreds of hours of additional training in order to be able safely to utilize these additional modalities. For some of the modalities there is no accepted training program. The modalities may be developed as the treatment progresses, based on patient response and practitioner ability, knowledge and intuition.

Finding a Unique Solution

There is no "one size fits all" in good medicine. That is both the beauty and the curse of the human condition. But let there be no doubt that to limit "integrative medicine" to the realm of "alternative", something to use incidentally or on the side, is to severely limit both the potential for healing and the potential for development of new modalities of healing. We recognize that there may be unintended effects along the way - just as there are in the allopathic version of medicine. But that is part of the human condition, and part of the risk taken when new paths are explored.

In the Baghavad Gita chapter 2 we read: "You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty."

In other words, we are responsible for taking what seems to us to be the right course on the river, but we do not necessarily have control over where the river winds while finding its destination.

Medicine is an art, as well as a science. And no matter how hard we try to force medicine into the box of the Newtonian paradigm, it keeps escaping from that box.

Epigenetics, genetic mutations, environmental changes and pollutants, food quality and kind - all these things affect each of us differently, and may result in different results of therapy for apparently identical conditions in different patients.

That is the essence of Homeopathic and Integrative Medicine.

If you would like to schedule an appointment at the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, a Scottsdale integrative medical center contact us at (480) 418-0220 today.

*Disclaimer: There is no guarantee of successes for any given medical treatment. Each individual is unique and may respond differently to our medical services, meaning results may vary for each person.

  • [1] 9th Annual Integrative Oncology Training Conference for Acupuncturists, Massage Therapists, and Yoga Teachers. ASCO 2013
  • [2] Sharpe M, Carson A. "Unexplained" somatic symptoms, functional syndromes, and somatization: do we need a paradigm shift? Ann Intern Med. 2001 May 1;134(9 Pt 2):926-30.
  • [3] Pardian GN, Sugiyama H. Strategies To Modulate Heritable Epigenetic Defects in Cellular Machinery: Lessons from Nature. Pharmaceuticals 2013, 6(1), 1-24; doi:10.3390/ph6010001
  • [4] Ho E, Clarket JD, Dashwood RH. Dietary Sulforaphane, a Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor for Cancer Prevention. J Nutr. 2009 December; 139(12): 2393-2396. doi: 10.3945/jn.109.113332
  • [5] CAM = Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  • [6] Ely JW, Osheroff JA et al. A taxonomy of generic clinical questions: classification study. BMJ 2000;321:429.1.

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