Northwestern Integrative Medicine Seeks to Heal the Whole Patient
By Kara SpakHealth and Wellness October 15, 2013
All play a role in integrative medicine, a holistic approach to treating a patient’s mind, body and spirit using science-based conventional medicine and broader complementary means.
“In ever increasing numbers, informed patients are turning to integrative medicine to develop a deep relationship with practitioners,” said Melinda Ring, MD, medical director of Northwestern Integrative Medicine. “Together, we work to identify what the issues are and then begin the healing process.”
Assessments may include both conventional labs and functional medicine tests, looking for underlying root causes of disease based on a person’s individual biochemical profile. Treatments combine Western medicine with acupuncture, supplements, massage and individualized nutrition programs.
At Northwestern Integrative Medicine, board certified internists and nurse practitioners provide conventional primary care united with healthy lifestyle practices like yoga or complementary therapies like the energy medicine Reiki.
“I see patients who have been through a roster of doctors, like a stomach doctor, a therapist, and an internist, all trying to figure out what might be wrong,” Ring said. “We take a look at all aspects of a patient’s life along with the patient’s goals for health, then we develop a course of treatment.”
While anyone is welcome to access integrative medicine, patients at the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, for instance, are offered free or discounted treatments through Northwestern Integrative Medicine for acupuncture, massage, naturopathic medicine and energy medicine. The treatments are designed to help with nausea, anxiety, fatigue and pain from cancer treatment.
“Integrative medicine is no longer considered fringe,” said Ring, who is also an assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “Increasingly, both physicians and patients are seeking evidence-based ways to heal the whole person.”
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine is one of 56 esteemed academic medical centers that comprise the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. Northwestern Medicine and the Consortium are hosting the inaugural International Congress for Clinicians in Complementary and Integrative Medicine in Chicago from October 29 to 31.