“An integrative medicine approach seeks to discern multiple perceived origins of a disease process and address them all. Integrative medicine also assumes that an individual has the potential for healing at the spiritual level, even when physical healing does not take place.”

— Andrew Weil, MD / Founder, Program in Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona College of Medicine

Elements of Integrative Care

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Integrative Medicine: 

•    Is patient-centered care that focuses on healing the whole person—mind, body and spirit in the context of community.
•    Educates and empowers people to be active participants in their own care, and to take responsibility for their own health and wellness.
•    Integrates the best of Western scientific medicine with a broader understanding of the nature of illness, healing and wellness.
•    Makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches and evidenced-based modalities to achieve optimal health and healing.
•    Encourages healing partnerships between the provider and patient, and supports the individualization of care.
•    Creates a culture of wellness.

Because integrative medicine often involves experts from a variety of the healing arts, it encourages a collaborative approach to patient care among practitioners.  In delivering integrative medicine, physicians and nurses might work with doctors of Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine, herbalists, acupuncturists, nutritionists, massage therapists, psychologists, and other health care professionals  to achieve optimum health and healing for their patients.

The following stories offer more information about how providers work together within the health care system to deliver the best care possible.



To learn more about integrative medicine, we recommend the following resources:


The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) partnered to create CAM on PubMed.  This online search engine provides free access to article abstracts from the MEDLINE database, which represents the most esteemed medical journals in America. It also includes links to many full-text articles at journal Web sites and other related Web resources.

Cochrane Library—Complementary Medicine Field

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to making accurate information about the effects of healthcare readily available worldwide. It reviews healthcare interventions and promotes the search for evidence. The Complementary Medicine Field (section) within the Cochrane Collaboration is dedicated to facilitating the production of systematic reviews of randomized clinical trials in topic areas such as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, herbal medicine, homeopathy and mind-body therapies. The Complementary Medicine Field is coordinated by the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Medicine.

Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine

The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine (CAHCIM) is a group of leading medical schools in the United States and Canada that works collectively to transform medicine and healthcare through rigorous scientific studies, new models of clinical care, and innovative educational programs that integrate principles of biomedicine, the complexity of human beings, the intrinsic nature of healing and the rich diversity of therapeutic systems. CAHCIM's goal is to make a qualitative difference in people's health by advocating an integrative model of healthcare, incorporating mind, body and spirit.

Continuum Center for Health and Healing

The Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Hospital Web site has an online offering of nearly 100 medical conditions through which patients can not only learn about conditions and their symptoms, but also about recommended interventions and therapies and the scientific evidence that exists in support of those therapies.

Medline Plus: Drugs and Supplements

This site offers extensive information including background, uses, safety, evidence for, dosages, and potential interactions for more than 100 vitamins, herbs and supplements.

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals.

Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine  (OCCAM)

The Office of Cancer Complementary and Alternative Medicine (OCCAM) was established to coordinate and enhance the activities of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the arena of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Its goal is to increase the amount of high-quality cancer research and available information about the use of complementary and alternative modalities for cancer.

The New Medicine

The New Medicine is a PBS special documentary that explores the extraordinary changes underway in today's American healthcare system as integrative medicine is increasingly embraced.  A companion Web site offers concrete tools and resources that empower consumers to take charge of their health and pursue a more integrated approach to their health care.

Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center of Integrative Medicine

The Jefferson-Myrna Brind Center for Integrative Medicine Web site has an extensive offering for patients to learn about different medical treatments and conditions. People can test their knowledge about health conditions in a series of interactive quizzes, including a heart rate calculator, a childhood asthma quiz and an arthritis quiz.

University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine

The University of Maryland's Web site offers information on medical conditions, drugs, herbs, supplements, and treatment options as well information on conditions listed by organ and body system, a list of brand-name and generic prescription drugs and the herbs and supplements that may interact with them. The site also provides a section on conditions organized by signs and symptoms and a list of brand-name and generic drugs and the body's nutrients that they may deplete.


WebMD is a highly respected and extensive online resource that provides comprehensive health information for consumers, physicians, nurses, and educators. In addition to extensive medical references and databases, it offers tools for managing health and support to those who seek information.