In recent years, the use of alternative medicine and therapy has made a name for itself in western medical communities. In a country that is thought to be a leader in health and medicine, more people are turning to natural medicine to find healing and health. Many in the medical field are even beginning to see the benefits of integrative medicine and although it may not be included in many insurance plans, it may be the compliment that western medicine has been seeking for some time now.
Experts in Integrative Medicine describe it as a practice that approaches a patient's whole person, supported by observed evidence and utilizing all forms of treatment approaches. This not only includes disciplines already practiced by health-care professionals but also herbal medicine, massage therapy, yoga and other therapy techniques.
It had been previously rare for hospitals and health care facilities to even offer IM as a treatment option but new research has surfaced revealing the fact that more and more community hospitals are including its therapies in routine treatment practices. In a study by the American Hospital Association, it was found that 21% of community hospitals were offering Integrative Medicine therapies in 2008, which is much higher than previous statistics show. Furthermore, medical schools have started offering elective courses in integrative medicine and the number of integrative medicine academic centers has been steadily growing across the nation as well.
Advocates of integrative medicine claim that the key to effective treatment is a customized long-term health plan that encourages and supports a healthy lifestyle for patients. However, while medical experts are beginning to agree with the public on the value of IM techniques, one obstacle stands in the way of its healing power and the patients needing its attention: the cost factor. The treatment and methods of integrative medicine often require personalized care and a number of specialists involved. As this raises the price of treatment, the cost of integrative medicine is compounded by the fact that most insurance policies do not include it in their coverage. In light of this, the integrative medicine community is hopeful that the insurance industry will eventually join as it makes advancements into specialized areas of medicine and continues to prove its worth as a beneficial treatment method.
Optimal Health Dimensions is a health care center offering Integrative Medicine in Virginia and seeking to improve the health and lives of its patients through complementary methods and unique treatment plans.