Integrated Medicine Offers You More Than Conventional Medicine

You’ll notice the term “integrated medicine” being used more and more to describe the way some doctors practice. This term has been used for several years in the New Zealand, Australian and English medical arena. It is now entering the public arena to refer to medical doctors who combine complementary therapies with their conventional training.

Official definitions of “integrated medicine”

The Australasian Integrated Medical Association, of which the New Zealand AIMA is a part, defines the term as: “The blending of conventional and natural/complementary medicines and/or therapies along with lifestyle interventions and a holistic approach – taking into account the physical, psychological, social and spiritual wellbeing of the person – with the aim of using the most appropriate, safe and evidence-based modality(ies) available.”*

The British Society of Integrated Medicine defines it as “an approach to health and healing that provides patients with individually tailored health and wellbeing programmes which are designed to address the barriers to healing and provide the patient with the knowledge, skills and support to take better care of their physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health. Rather than limiting treatments to a specific specialty, integrated medicine uses the safest and most effective combination of approaches and treatments from the world of conventional and complementary/alternative medicine. These are selected according to, but not limited to, evidence-based practice, and the expertise, experience and insight of the individuals and team members caring for the patient.”

The benefits integrated medicine can have for you as a patient:

  • Integrated medical practitioners tend to allocate more consulting time to you.
  • They use their conventional medical training and add in any other scientifically validated treatments that they think will help you.
  • Many are interested in the use of nutritional therapy as a foundation of treatment.
  • Some will add in herbal treatments or bio-identical hormone treatments.
  • Some use mind/body medicine, Chinese medicine or energy medicine.
  • Most will be interested in working with other health practitioners such as naturopaths, massage therapists, nutritionists and energy therapists, etc.
  • All will be interested in solid scientific evidence for any treatment they suggest.
  • They combine conventional drug based therapy and complementary therapies to serve you best.
  • At all times, they will respect your wishes and beliefs and will seek to help you to be whole, thus the other term for this type of medicine – “holistic”.

* AIMA joint working party/Royal Australian College of General Practitioners’ Best Practice document.

Otherwise, depending on the type of problem with the jaw joint, you may be treated effectively with:

  • Anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant or antidepressant drugs
  • Exercises
  • Relaxation techniques, stress management or counselling
  • Physiotherapy, massage or acupuncture
  • Injection into the joint
  • Botox to relax overactive, tight muscles.

With today’s overloaded lifestyles, rest and relaxation play important roles in preventing the tension that tends to cause jaw clenching and teeth grinding. Short of seeking professional help, your best defence against TMJ is making sure you manage your stress levels and relax enough.

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