During the many years I am involved in clinical practice and research of complementary medicine alongside with the mainstream medicine, I have often faced the questions of how to practice integrative medicine in a way that would combine the both approaches. For a particular patient it may include the issues of when to apply to complementary medicine, how to choose an appropriate treatment modality and of course, the therapist.
The most common questions patients are dealing with are:
- Whether to apply to complementary medicine with every problem, or just as a last resort, when everything else has failed?
- What would be the best treatment modality that might help their problem – would it be acupuncture, homeopathy, reflexology etc.?
- Do they have to receive an approval of their physician, and whether the doctor possesses enough knowledge in this field? What would happen if he disapproves?
I am happy to share with you the knowledge acquired during the past 15 years of my experience as a head of the Complementary Medicine Service of The Sheba Medical Center, Tel-Hashomer. This knowledge is based both on the cumulative clinical experience of work with outstanding complementary therapists, and the results of research performed in this field.
As it is important to see the whole picture – both of the disease and the patient in order to assess whether, when and how the modalities of complementary may help a particular patient, it is preferable to have an advice of a doctor (MD) who has also been qualified in complementary medicine.
Such consultation would have several aims:
- To ensure that the symptoms of the patient have been investigated properly by the standards of conventional medicine, and that adequate treatment approaches have been explored;
- In that case, the next steps are to assess what modality of complementary medicine could help a particular patient, and how to integrate this treatment within the mainstream medicine.
Some of these issues, scientific and philosophic approach to complementary medicine are reflected in the interview I gave to Prof. Ernst in
Focus on Complementary and Alternative Medicine