Integrative Health

Passing from the notion of integrative medicine to integrative health is clearly a new way in the therapeutic field. This perpective is part of everyone's daily life, urging us to give a new significance to our health.

 

            Note that for WHO, health is not merely the absence of disease but a state of complete mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

 

            The fact that the NCCAM (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicines) evolved - logically - to NCCIH (National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health) in 2015 clearly underlines this turning point in health perspective, thus highlighting the significance of prevention and integrative health.

 

            Indeed, the key factor for success is to eventually allow patients to integrate the practices that work for them in their daily life, and to create their own tool box in order to take charge of their health.

 

            Of course, prevention prevails when the various aspects of the patients' way of life are taken into account. Developing a daily balance can become an essential therapeutic lever (food, sleep, physical activity and general way of life, attention to oneself and to the world, returning to sensorial experience, being able to experience one's emotions fully, using breathing techniques - through hypnosis, auto-hypnosis, meditation, yoga...

 

            Whereas many therapies focus on the problems and overlook the patients' strengths (Gassman and Grawe, 2006), in integrative health, difficulties are faced by activating patients' strength and ressources.

 

            Integrative health is not a new school but a method that can freely draw its tools from various approaches. This notion of integrative health puts patients back in the centreof healthcare, and requires a change in attitude from practitioners, which may be a challenge for integrative medicine: reasserting the importance of the relationship between patients and healers.

 

            Complementary practices cannot be reduced to mere techniques, but each is a genuine means of communication; each is a different way to relate with patients.

 

The notion of Integrative Health

Isabelle Célestin-Lhopiteau

 

 

 

Translated from French by Frédéric Delacour