Integrative medicine – underestimated symbiosis

Integrative medicine - underestimated symbiosis

Cells, messengers, receptors, biomarkers – today people are broken down into their smallest parts when it comes to diagnosing and treating diseases. Looking for the smallest units of the human body – for malfunctions, contraindications or disruptive factors that require repair in the interest of recovery. Medicine has also sorted itself out in recent years – at least traditional. There will hardly be a doctor who does not have a specialty within a specialty. This often leads to a far-specific disease in man as a whole. But humans with all their tiny, tiny components are not able to survive in specialist areas. To be able to understand the human system as a whole, it seems that not only all specialist fields, but all medical disciplines work together to be relevant. Ideally, traditional and complementary medicine merge into a symbiosis that is underestimated in many places.

“Man is broken into separate parts – the organ system. Their completeness and specificity, which is much greater than the sum of the parts, often remains in the background or is completely lost”, General Physician and Doctor of Ayurvedic Medicine It is described by Lothar Kraner, in the collection of “Integrating Medicine” (Springer-Verlag). One-sided belief in the “omnipotence” of traditional medicine includes the idea that it is only a matter of time and the amount of research funding and health budgets to “conquer” all diseases and lead a healthy life into old age. does not become a reality. There will be all people for the people.

in poor health

But despite the great successes of modern medicine, the development of the state of health of the population is satisfactory. Chronic diseases – think of metabolic disorders such as cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, are also often referred to as the modern epidemic, but age-related diseases such as dementia – are on the rise, as are infectious diseases with modified viruses – eg Covid-19 is tough on us – or new or antibiotic-resistant germs. Holistic practitioners therefore demand a combination of different medical worldviews to be able to offer the best possible medicine for everyone.

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“Medicine should not be viewed in black and white, but as a combination – and if possible without prejudice,” explains internist and integrative therapist Michael Frass in an interview with Wiener Zeitung. But the association of complementary medicine with traditional medicine requires special sensitivity. In order to achieve benefit for the patient, one must learn to differentiate between the potential side effects of conventional medicine and the abnormalities or reactions of integrative medicine.

Frais emphasizes that if it is possible to use complementary methods to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients, while the therapy can be avoided, the combination becomes a win-win situation.

broad nomenclature

Complementary medicine, alternative medicine, holistic medicine, integrative medicine – there’s no shortage of names for the hodgepodge of comprehensive medical options over the years. Why is not entirely clear. It is possible that the search for recognition and the ever-increasing headwinds led to the search for an all-explainable, understood and accepted term in various directions.

“I’ve been following these naming efforts for decades, but I think it doesn’t really matter,” Frasse said. The term alternative medicine is not used or used in German-speaking countries – “mainly because there is clearly an immediate headwind and allies fear that traditional medicine will be kept completely separate, which is really nonsense.” Is.” But it is felt. For a long time it was called complement – that is, complement. But the term does not take into account the diversity and hence the term unified has been withheld today. “It really includes every kind of medicine”, you should keep that in mind.

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Integrated means that it is a method that stands out within medicine and which, within the scope of skill and knowledge, offers the possibility to apply methods that have the longest lasting effects for the patient. which is as resource-saving, gentle, and with which it can be achieved that the patient receives the best possible for himself/herself with and without a combination of conventional therapy.

The term holistic medicine can be found in several umbrella organizations – including: Vienna International Academy for Holistic Medicine (sports) or Austrian umbrella organization for medical holistic medicine, Frais believes it will be placed there more for historical reasons. One would like to express that one sees the patient as a whole – that is, not the disease itself, but primarily a sick person.

With complementary medicine, the focus is on the treatment effect or long-term effect, not on the type of treatment itself. “In traditional medicine, in many cases efforts are made to suppress symptoms and replace any missing substance. But in rare cases there is a tendency to treat,” says Dr. “Health cannot be achieved by merely ‘repairing’ the organs of the body, mind or spirit,” Cranner emphasizes.

evidence based medicine

Evidence-based medicine (EBM) is more important, which is given a particularly high priority. In the modern sense, the focus is on the results of clinical studies, from which therapy stages, treatment methods, and guidelines are derived. An important aspect that makes it possible to further develop medicine with all its aspects. However, as one of the pioneers of EBM, as Canadian physician David Sackett put it, evidence-based medicine rests on a total of three pillars – namely on individual clinical experience, the patient’s values ​​and desires, and current status. Research. Experience includes clinical knowledge, case numbers, diagnosis as well as prognosis and therapy. Patients seek attention, information and trust as well as improvement, continuation of treatment, and the earliest return to their daily lives.

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According to Sackett, there are three pillars that support the great house of medicine. The best stability is naturally achieved when all three pillars have the same dimensions.

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