What is an Integrative Doctor?
Integrative doctors are all medical school trained General Practitioners. We have chosen to extend our study in order to integrate all the body systems and be more agile in uncovering the reasons for symptoms. In medical school we learn about the cardiovascular system, for example, quite separately from the gastrointestinal system or neurological system and in general practice problems are solved using this rather constricted approach. An integrative doctor has a different ( we would say better!) approach where, for example a problem in the gut or diet might be effecting the skin or causing respiratory symptoms. Complex problems such as chronic fatigue can only be managed in this holistic way.
Integrative doctors focus on nutrition and optimising trace elements because nutrition is the foundation of our health. General practitioners may look at a ‘reference range’ of magnesium,for example, and suggest that as long as the patient is ‘in the range’, there is no issue. Integrative doctors look at the OPTIMAL level for individuals.
Hormone balance is another area of difference between integrative doctors and regular G.P.s . We look at optimising the hormonal balance rather than being content with ‘reference ranges.’ The outcome is that patients feel better.
Integrative doctors use prescription medicine, but if there is an alternative, natural option it is preferred. The reason is that we are acutely aware that all drugs have SIDE EFFECTS- some immediate, some long term, and we understand that the balance of the body will be upset by drugs. If we use prescription medication we will always offer an agent to balance it’s negative effects- for example, we would prescribe a particular probiotic alongside an antibiotic ( perhaps with a prebiotic). In this way we try to avoid the all too common scenario where a drug is prescribed to reduce side effects from a previously prescribed drug…and so on.
Being an Integrative doctor is more challenging because we can explore more deeply into symptoms and diseases. I am grateful not to be an ‘ordinary’ G.P.!