The Advantages of Integrative Medicine

Well, first of all, I think it’s important
to make physicians and other practitioners aware
of what data now exists, because in many cases there’s a lot of evidence out there but it’s in places that conventional
doctors don’t look or don’t know to look. Secondly, there is often not a very adequate evidence base for
many of the procedures done in conventional medicine. And I think that’s more of problem
because those methods tend to be more powerful and more potentially dangerous. Another principle that I teach, as you know, is that we should use a sliding scale of evidence
that works like this: the greater the potential of a treatment to cause harm, the stricter the standards it should be
held to for efficacy. So, if I’m recommending a treatment, a
very low risk, say a breathing technique, I’m quite
comfortable recommending that the people in the absence of definitive evidence
for efficacy, while encouraging people to go collect
the evidence. That’s the way I would answer that.
But I have been surprised by the depth of the clinical and the
epidemiological research that’s going on in the world
now. A good deal of it in Europe, but a lot of it here in the United
states, I mean it is surprising. There is a lot of ferment, a lot of research. Definitely, and in integrative medicine
we certainly want to be consistent with scientific information. In our own
clinic at the University of Arizona when our doctors in training prepare treatment
plans for patients, you know, we always ask them to go through the literature and provide supporting evidence for any
treatment recommendations that they make. Wanna talk a little bit about consumer
pull through, one of the things that is going to help
integrative medicine, you’ve often said, is the fact that people are simply
demanding it. Is that the case? I think this has been a consumer driven
movement since the end of the nineteen sixties and that’s an overwhelming pull. I think
medical institutions have been reluctantly following that. But now I think the
dynamics are changing. I think from here on it’s going to be a really bottom-line financial
considerations that drive things forward, because as the health care crisis deepens, I think the wisdom of Integrative
Medicine will become more apparent in that, you know, both with emphasis on prevention, and also because it can bring lower-cost treatment into the mainstream.

1 comment

  1. The movement in healthcare is wellness and prevention of disease. ‘Do no harm’ is exactly what Integrative Medicine is all about. Use of food as medicine, mind body practices, movement and sleep hygiene with a focus on prevention. Along with evidence based medicine to give patients the best of both worlds. Dr. Weil is a progressive leader in medicine.

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