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What is Integrative & Holistic Medicine? 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         The terms Integrative and Holistic can be confusing in terms of medical care.  

             To help you understand the terms and therapies that we support, please read below.

Integrative Medicine as described by Dr. Andrew Weil, a leader in the Integrative Medicine community is healing-oriented medicine that takes account of the whole person, including all aspects of lifestyle. It emphasizes the therapeutic relationship between practitioner and patient, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapies.

 Holistic Medicine aims to prevent and treat diseases and ailments, and improve a patient's general health and well-being. The treatments and techniques used help boost the body's natural healing abilities. Empowering the patient to take charge of their own health is another important component of holistic medicine.

According to the American Holistic Health Association, practitioners take the following elements into consideration during diagnosis and treatments:

  • Physical

  • Nutritional

  • Environmental

  • Emotional

  • Spiritual

  • Lifestyle

According to the National Cancer Institute, both Integrative and Holistic Medicine falls under the term Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) which is the term for medical products and practices that are not part of standard medical care. People with cancer may use CAM to:

  • Help cope with the side effects of cancer, such as nausea, pain, and fatigue

  • Comfort themselves and ease the worries of cancer treatment and related stress

  • Feel that they are doing something to help with their own care

  • Try to treat or cure their cancer


Therapies/Services that The Sand Dollar Foundation

will financially support for patients may include any of the following:


Mind–Body Therapies

These combine mental focus, breathing, and body movements to help relax the body and mind. Some examples are:

  • Meditation: Focused breathing or repetition of words or phrases to quiet the mind.

  • Biofeedback: Using simple machines, the patient learns how to affect certain body functions that are normally out of one's awareness.

  • Hypnosis: A state of relaxed and focused attention in which a person concentrates on a certain feeling, idea, or suggestion to aid in healing.

  • Yoga: Systems of stretches and poses, with special attention given to breathing.

  • Tai Chi: Involves slow, gentle movements with a focus on the breath and concentration.

  • Imagery: Imagining scenes, pictures, or experiences to help the body heal.

  • Creative outlets: Interests such as art, music, or dance.


Biologically Based Practices

This type of CAM uses things found in nature. Some examples are:

  • Vitamins and dietary supplements.

  • Botanicals, which are plants or parts of plants. One type is cannabis.

    • Herbs and spices such as turmeric or cinnamon. 


Manipulative and Body-Based Practices

These are based on working with one or more parts of the body. Some examples are:

  • Massage: The soft tissues of the body are kneaded, rubbed, tapped, and stroked.

  • Chiropractic therapy: A type of manipulation of the spine, joints, and skeletal system.

  • Reflexology: Using pressure points in the hands or feet to affect other parts of the body.


Biofield Therapy

Biofield therapy, sometimes called energy medicine, involves the belief that the body has energy fields that can be used for healing and wellness. Therapists use pressure or move the body by placing their hands in or through these fields. Some examples are:

  • Reiki: Balancing energy either from a distance or by placing hands on or near the patient

  • Therapeutic touch: Moving hands over energy fields of the body


Whole Medical Systems

These are healing systems and beliefs that have evolved over time in different cultures and parts of the world. Some examples are:

  • Ayurvedic medicine: A system from India in which the goal is to cleanse the body and restore balance to the body, mind, and spirit.

  • Traditional Chinese medicine: Based on the belief that health is a balance in the body of two forces called yin and yang.

    • Acupuncture is a common practice in Chinese medicine that involves stimulating certain points on the body to promote health, or to lessen disease symptoms and treatment side effects.

  • Homeopathy: Uses very small doses of substances to trigger the body to heal itself.

  • Naturopathic medicine: Uses various methods that help the body naturally heal itself. An example would be herbal treatments.

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