Integrative medicine is a combination of conventional medicine that includes drugs, surgeries, and lifestyle medicine and complementary medicine that are therapies that are not part of traditional western medicine. It uses different techniques to deliver whole-person care. Health care policies have not included integrative medicine and most patients are unable to cater for their expenses. There are different ways to improve health care services by including integrative medicine.
CAM stands for complementary and alternative medicine. These are the type of medicine that is not part of conventional western medicine. When they are used together with conventional medicine, it is referred to as complementary and when it is used in place of conventional medicine, it is called alternative. There are different types of CAM medicine and they include traditional alternative medicine, body, diet and herbs, external energy among others. Traditional alternative medicine is a form of therapy such as acupuncture, homeopathy, and oriented practices that have been practiced for so many years worldwide. The second one is the body where touch is used to manipulate the entire body into healing. They include massage, yoga, body movement therapies, and tai chi.
According to Bussing et al. (2010) Integrative health coverage is important because it helps patients with diseases such as cancer, chronic fatigue, persistent pain, and other chronic diseases to deal with their pain and improve the quality of their lives. Many health insurance covers do not cover complementary and alternative medicine that is often used in integrative medicine. It benefits patients who have long-term care settings and special medical services such as rehab. It is important for health insurance companies to make health coverage available for patients that suffer from these kinds of diseases. This will reduce health care costs and enable them access to better medical services.
The first healthcare improvement is educating physicians on the importance of complementary and alternative medicine in medical schools Wetzel et al. (1998). This gives them an idea when they practice medicine on what method they should use while treating patients. Integrative medicine will complement or be an alternative to western medicine. It makes it easy for them to study the feelings of a patient and determine the best medicine instead of assuming how they feel. Another improvement that can be made through healthcare policy, Maizes et al. (2009) is to allow health insurances to cover integrative health patients. It will allow them to access medical attention without the worry of finance. Patients who suffer from diseases like cancer and Parkinson’s have something that can take their pain away.
Medicare health program has come up with an alternative and complementary cover. Many people are now using alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture in our societies. It has made it easy for patients to access alternative medicine. Services that you get can range from massage to yoga. However, alternative medicine has a very broad field that varies with the plan that you decide to choose. There are different plans for the insurance and one is at will to choose from the one that suits them better. What works for one person may not for another.
Until medicine accepts complementary and alternative medicine completely, patients will not be in a place to get enough medical attention that aims at treating the entire body including a healthy diet, mental health, and exercise. Our society is growing and more people are looking for alternative medicine from the western ones. Our government needs to pay attention to complementary and alternative medicine and ensure that different health insurances cover alternative medicine.
Büssing, A., Ostermann, T., Neugebauer, E. A., & Heusser, P. (2010). Adaptive coping strategies in patients with chronic pain conditions and their interpretation of disease. BMC public health, 10(1), 1-10.
Maizes, V., Rakel, D., & Niemiec, C. (2009). Integrative medicine and patient-centered care. Explore, 5(5), 277-289.
Wetzel, M. S., Eisenberg, D. M., & Kaptchuk, T. J. (1998). Courses involving complementary and alternative medicine at US medical schools. Jama, 280(9), 784-787.