What Is Integrative Health and Why It May Be the Last Fitness “Trend” You Try*

What Is Integrative Health and Why It May Be the Last Fitness “Trend” You Try*

Health and wellness have been prominent topics in the last five to ten years. Since that evolution, people have been inundated with various ideologies about the best ways to stay healthy, fit, mindful, strong, flexible, etc.  

Sifting through this immense amount of information is likely exhausting for many people. And we don’t blame them. Living a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t mean hopping from one fad to the next.  

This is where integrative health comes in. Integrative health is not meant to be one of the latest trends; it is simply a method that combines the best practices for caring for one's mental, physical, and spiritual health.  

What is Integrative Health?

Integrative health, also known as integrative medicine, is an approach to healthcare that combines conventional Western medicine with complementary and alternative therapies. Integrative health aims to treat the whole person, addressing physical symptoms and considering mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of wellbeing.

In integrative health, healthcare professionals may collaborate across disciplines, combining conventional medical treatments with practices such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbal medicine, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and nutrition. The emphasis is on personalized and patient-centered care, considering the individual's unique circumstances and preferences.

How You Can Implement Integrative Health Practices

Implementing integrative health practices is using all available resources and nurturing one's physical, mental, and emotional/spiritual health.  

Some questions you can ask yourself as you plan your day:  

  • How will I nourish my body today with food and movement?  
  • How will I take a moment to check in with myself?  
  • What can I do today to support my mental wellbeing?  

Practicing integrative health involves adopting a holistic approach to wellbeing and incorporating various strategies that promote physical, mental, and emotional health. Here are some general guidelines on how someone can practice integrative health:

Educate Yourself

Stay informed about the latest research on integrative health practices, be critical of information sources, and rely on evidence-based resources.

Build a Holistic Lifestyle

Holistic, by definition, is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors. To build a holistic lifestyle, consider these options:  

  • Focus on a balanced and nutritious diet.  
  • Engage in regular physical activity suitable for your fitness level.
  • Prioritize sufficient and quality sleep.
  • Manage stress through mindfulness, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
Seek Professional Guidance

Integrative health often includes seeking guidance from healthcare professionals who believe in utilizing Eastern and Western medicine. However, that does not always have to be the case.  

It can be challenging to find someone within your insurance network. If that is the case, consider working with various healthcare providers.  

This could include conventional medical practitioners, like your primary care physician, nutritionists, naturopathic doctors, and other complementary therapists.

Mind-Body Practices

Incorporate mind-body practices such as yoga, tai chi, or meditation into your routine and explore practices that promote relaxation and stress reduction.

Complementary Therapies

Explore complementary therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage, or herbal medicine, but do so under the guidance of qualified practitioners. Ensure that any complementary therapies align with evidence-based practices and are safe, and always be sure to check in with your doctor before beginning any of these practices.  

Personalized Approach

Recognize that health is individual, and what works for one person may not work for another. The more in tune you become with yourself, the easier it will be to consider your unique needs, preferences, and circumstances when making health-related decisions.

Integrate Conventional and Complementary Care

Communicate openly with your healthcare providers about any complementary therapies you are considering. And again, make sure that integrative approaches are coordinated with conventional medical treatments.

Preventive Measures

Focus on preventive measures like regular health check-ups, screenings, and vaccinations. Adopt a proactive approach to maintaining health rather than just treating illnesses.

Integrative health is one of the many paths to overall health and wellness. But unlike many other ideologies, it is not one-size-fits-all. This approach encourages people to listen to their bodies and minds to decipher what feels right and is necessary for their unique needs.  

If you are currently a participant of a Wellworks For You wellness plan, consider using your wellness portal’s offerings, such as regularly updated meditations and fitness and nutrition videos. If available, consider utilizing the help of one of our qualified health coaches or looking into your EAP program to see what is offered to support you.  

If you are in the position to implement a wellness program in your workplace and are interested in learning more about how you can assist employees with bettering their physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing, click here to speak to a member of our sales team.  

Kellie O'Keefe
Kellie O'Keefe

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