Integrative Medicine (IM) is practiced by a Western-trained board certified physician who has an understanding of, and experience with, Eastern healing techniques. It refers to the integration, or bringing together, of varied approaches to health care– including allopathic medicine, osteopathic manipulation, acupuncture, herbal therapy, and commonsense lifestyle choices. It involves caring for the whole patient, matching the most effective therapies with the patient’s beliefs and circumstances, and forming a partnership between patient and physician to overcome illness and optimize health.
What conditions respond best?
IM focuses on the most effective treatment for a particular patient’s problem. The most responsive conditions are often those that require full attention to mind, body, and spirit. These include allergies, anxiety, asthma, depression, infertility, insomnia, irritable bowel, high cholesterol, menopause, migraine, musculoskeletal pain, and premenstrual syndrome. Children with ADHD, abdominal pain, allergy, asthma, behavioral issues, colic, sleep issues, and headaches may also benefit. Cancer survivors may want to try other treatments in addition to surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy. Hospice patients may need special help dealing with their pain and anxiety.
Is IM proven to be effective?
IM tries to choose therapies- Eastern or Western- that have been tested and proven. This is called an “evidence-based” approach. But medicine has always been the art of applying clinical science to the individual, and no therapy has been scientifically proven to work for every patient. Therefore, the doctor must use clinical judgment and careful attention to the individual to match the right approach with the right patient.
Who does IM?
Megan R. Britton, M.D. is a residency-trained family physician who completed a two-year fellowship in Integrative Medicine under the tutelage of Dr. Andrew Weil of the University of Arizona. Dr. Britton was born and raised in Aroostook County, ME, attended Bowdoin College and the University of Queensland (Australia), and completed her residency training at the Maine Medical Center Family Medicine Megan Residency Program in Portland.