What makes integrative medicine stand out from traditional medicine?

August 07, 2018


What is traditional medicine?

The World Health Organization defines this medical approach as “the sum total of the knowledge, skill, and practices based on the theories, beliefs, and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.”

Various indigenous, folk or home remedies could be considered as traditional medicine, with practices such as Ayurveda and Chinese Traditional Medicine being the most commonly known and used.


What is integrative medicine?

Integrative medicine is a medical approach that not only focusses on healing a specific disease or health issue, but one that addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, environmental and lifestyle factors that can affect one’s health, using advances in medicine to achieve its goals.


Difference between integrative and traditional medicine

Integrative medicine stands out from traditional or conventional medicine as it:

  • Treats the root causes of a health issue rather than only a symptom;
  • Has a holistic approach to view the body as a connected system;
  • Encompasses both physical and emotional aspect of health and illnesses, and provides strategies to improve the balance between physical and mental health;
  • Uses advance diagnostic tests for health check-ups and to develop treatment plans;
  • Does not heavily rely on medications and prioritises changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle decisions; and
  • Necessitates longer sessions between health professionals and patients, allowing better communication and relationship.


Examples of integrative medicine treatments

Other examples include:

  • Aromatherapy;
  • Meditation;
  • Nutritional therapy;
  • Psychiatry; and
  • Many more.


Ubuntu Medical’s staff who specialise in integrative medicinal treatments include Andrea Southern, Naturopath, Herbalist and Nutritionist, Janice Hughes, Hypnotherapy & Neuro Linguistic Programming, and Vicky Chan, Acupuncturist.