Integrative medicine is a comprehensive approach to health and well being that takes into account the whole person and therefore all the factors that influence health, wellness and disease for a truly holistic approach to healing.
Currently it is estimated that 60-70% of all primary health care visits in developed countries are for lifestyle related and therefore preventable diseases. 
Integrative medicine is a GP Sydney philosophy of healthcare that rises to the challenge of addressing this dramatic increase in lifestyle related disease but also aims to prevent the development of chronic disease in the first place.
To gain a better understanding of Integrative Medicine, let’s look at the defining principles:
- The relationship between the practitioner and the patient is integral to the healing process. It is a true collaboration with the focus being on the person and not the disease.
- Integrative medicine combines the best of western medicine with evidence based complementary medicine and healthcare practitioners to achieve optimal wellbeing and facilitate the body’s own healing potential.
- All factors that can influence health and well being are addressed to determine the root cause of a disease, with the aim of reversing the area of dysfunction and bringing about true healing. Integrative medicine takes into account physical, psychological, environmental, social and spiritual aspects of the persons lifestyle, being a truly systems based approach.
- As well as treatment of the patient, integrative medicine has a role in health promotion and prevention of illness by bringing awareness to the modifiable factors that create illness.
This is an exciting time for Integrative Medicine. As we come to realise just how much impact lifestyle factors such as nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, relationships and environment have on our health, this field of medicine takes all of this into account.
“The provision of evidence based, safer, more effective and less expensive lifestyle medicine services are the privilege and duty of every practitioner, patient and healthcare provider on every continent today.” 
It’s time to acknowledge the important role of Integrative Medicine in the current landscape of healthcare – a truly holistic view on health.
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Chronic diseases and associated risk factors in Australia, 2006. Canberra: AIHW 2006 (AIHW Cat. No. PHE 81.)
- M. Sagner, D. Katz et al. Lifestyle medicine potential for reversing a world of chronic disease epidemics: from cell to community. International Journal of Clinical Practice 2014; 68(11): 1289-1282.