Many people are confused about the difference between integrative and holistic medicine. So, we are going to look at holistic vs integrative medicine. Once you know the difference, our belief is that you will understand which is more conducive to a healthier overall life.

To truly understand the difference viz holistic vs integrative medicine, you must also understand a bit of medical history.

For at least 4000 years a major alternative to mainstream medicine has been acupuncture. And other local cultures have used terms such as Vedic, shamanic, etc.

Homeopathy is the oldest known alternative to conventional medicine. And it thrived in Germany.

In the late 1800’s, Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. founded osteopathic medicine. An important feature of osteopathic medicine is osteopathic  manipulative therapy (OMT). Shortly thereafter chiropractic medicine began.

It may not be a coincidence that the Flexner Report was soon created by Rockefeller to put an end to alternatives like these!

For the next 50 years the American Medical Association (AMA) sought vigorously to stop homeopathy, chiropractic and osteopathy. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that the battle against chiropractic was ended by a successful lawsuit brought forth by chiropractors.

At that time, the establishment also tried to abolish osteopathy by allowing all D.O.’s to become M.D.’s. Thousands converted, and today not more than a small percent of osteopaths do OMT, the use of the original superior physical adjustments that Andrew Taylor Still introduced!

This history is important because it highlights how the established medical field has consistently behaved when it comes to anything that might undermine its authority.

And now we can begin the discussion of holistic vs integrative medicine directly.

The concept of holistic medicine evolved in the 1970’s to the founding of American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) in May 1978.

(Now that you understand a bit of the history, you won’t be surprised to learn how the AMA behaved. The AMA refused even to allow advertising for the founding meeting which was attended by 212 physicians and medical students in Denver, Colorado.)

Over the next few years annual meetings of AHMA grew to over 800 attendees. Despite the success of the meetings, not all doctors were excited by the prospect holistic medicine.

In fact, one neurosurgeon wrote that the leaders of the holistic movement were too charismatic and “furthermore we are too busy trying to take care of disease instead of trying to prevent it!”

Too busy to prevent disease?! Yet, this indignant doctor hit on one of the cornerstones of holistic medicine—disease prevention.

Rapidly the terms alternative and complementary medicine began to be used. Unfortunately, these terms were and are still used without clear definition of what they mean and certainly not including holistic medicine because of its perceived threat.

Interestingly, holistic medicine began just as the allowance of acupuncture (now considered an alternative therapy) was reintroduced in the United States. The Father of American Medicine, Sir William Osler mentioned the treatment of low back pain with acupuncture early in the 20th century. However, its use was knocked out by the Flexner Report.

Shealy introduced the concept of electro-acupuncture shortly after he introduced Spinal Cord Stimulation and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, the beginning of modern pain therapy. Then his work evolved to holistic medicine—therapy for body, mind, emotions and spirit.

And fortunately, the holistic medical movement has continued since its inception. And doctors participating in it have developed many highly effective treatments that are often ignored by the conventional medical system.

In the later half of the twentieth century, two superior therapies evolved:

  1. Chelation for treatment of atherosclerotic heart disease
  2. Mega doses of IV vitamin C for infections and cancer

Fast-forward to today.

Integrative medicine is the most recent of the innovations in terminology. On the surface the idea of integrative medicine sounds like progress. Yet it is another attempt by the conventional medical system to repress holism.

The tendency to resist new thought is not unique to medicine. To a great extent, every field is resistant to introductions of new thought.

For example, consider religion. Religion has been as violently opposed to such introductions for at least the last few thousand years! Even as late as the 1890’s the introduction of the New Thought religions was strongly resisted.

Mary Baker Eddy founded the Church of Jesus Christ, Scientist. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore founded Unity Church of Christianity. Ernest Holmes founded the Church of Religious Science. At the death of Holmes that church split almost fifty percent into Science of Mind.

All the New Thought churches share the basic philosophy of holism—body, mind, emotions, soul, spirit! Everything affects everything.

Back to our discussion of holistic vs integrative medicine.

Again, the introduction of integrative medicine was the most recent attempt to avoid holism!

One local Catholic hospital even advertised a department of Integrative Medicine. At best they offered hot stone massage! And they charged the insurance company only for use of and cleaning of the room!! Not very comprehensive—or honest!

Only one organization using the term integrative is comprehensive—The ACADEMY OF COMPREHENSIVE INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE. (It is interesting that its initials are the same as A Course in Miracles.) And it is the only major medical organization which exemplifies the broad holistic concept!

Without comprehensive, integrative or integral is NOT holistic!!!!!

Without soul and spirit we are no more than a rock.

Modern conventional medicine is essential for treatment of acute illness. It is excellent at making a diagnosis and critical for acute illness. However it is a failure at treatment of all chronic diseases.

Conventional medicine has also failed at enhancement of health through education and example. This is where holistic medicine shines.

Holism emphasizes a comprehensive conscientious common-sense approach to health. This approach necessitates that you MUST start with the 6 ESSENTIAL habits:

  1. Body Mass Index of 18 to 24!
  3. Eat at least 8 servings of veggies/fruit daily!
  4. Exercise at least 30 minutes five days a week!
  5. Sleep 7 or 8 Hours every night!
  6. Be at peace—live the Will of your Soul!

The responsibility of choosing between holistic vs integrative medicine to maintain your health is yours. Now you have at least enough information to be able to ask more questions. And hopefully, you now know enough to choose which medical philosophy you want to pursue for improving and maintaining your health daily.

Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. Dr. Sergey Sorin is a holistic physician as well as the CEO and medical director of the Shealy-Sorin Wellness Institute. Both doctors recommend autogenic focus (the basis of the Biogenics System) as part of your overall commitment to self-health.

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