In case you are not familiar with the differences between conventional, traditional, alternative, integrative, and complimentary type medicine, I have listed below some points describing their differences and similarities:

Integrative Medicine


  • Andrew Weil, MD, is the world's largest proponent of integrative medicine.

  • The National Center for CAM at National Institutes of Health (NIH) definition:

    • Combines the best conventional and CAM therapies that have some high-quality of scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness [evidence-based practice].

  • Uses healing-care that takes into account the whole person, an holistic approach to care of the mind, body, and spirit while addressing lifestyle, which I interpret as physical activity, nutritional state, and the emotional-spiritual-mental health of Being known as the Triad of Wellness.

  • Chooses the very best evidence-based therapies from conventional and CAM therapies, and emphasizes their relationship.

  • Integrative medicine is balanced living where the overall philosophy is to get the patient better.

  • Integrative medicine uses Conventional, Alternative, and Complimentary methods to treat the whole person - not just the disease.

Conventional/Traditional Medicine


  • Uses synthetic drugs, surgery which are usually expensive and invasive

  • Has its place. Some therapies are validated, some not.


Alternative Medicine


  • Uses therapies that are exluded from conventional medicine such as acupuncture, naturopathy (herbs, supplements), homeopathy (very different from naturopathy).

  • Therapies used are closer to nature, usually cheaper and less invasive.

  • Has its place. Some therapies are validated, some not.


Complementary Medicine


  • An alternative therapy used in combination with a conventional therapy.

  • This practice is known as CAM (complementary alternative medicine).

    • Example: ginger syrup (naturopathy) to prevent nausea during chemotherapy (conventional medicine).



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Approaches to Healing