Integrative Medicine in Tucson
As more articles appear in medical journals about nutrition and lifestyle factors to both prevent and treat many chronic illnesses, the gap between Integrative Medicine and conventional medicine is beginning to narrow albeit slowly. Some examples are frequent studies about the benefits of probiotics for intestinal health, the importance of exercise and diet, the benefits of fish oil and mind body techniques to help decrease stress and anxiety. These areas are just beginning to receive attention in medical school training. Lifestyle factors are also receiving serious attention. Dr. James Rippe of the Rippe Lifestyle Institute defines Lifestyle Medicine as “The study and practice of how to help individuals understand that their daily habits and practices have a profound impact on their short and long term health and quality of life.” Dr. Greenstone of the University of Michigan defines Lifestyle Medicine as “The study and practice of how simple lifestyle measures such as proper diet, proper exercise, and stress reduction are thoughtfully and comprehensively integrated into conventional Western medicine and practice.” These physicians and many more are helping to narrow the gap between conventional medicine and Integrative Medicine.
There is the Program in Integrative Medicine in Tucson founded by Andrew Weil in the late 1990′s. It is associated with the medical school at the University of Arizona and the residency program in Family Medicine. I am an instructor with that program teaching my specialty of Functional Medicine. Programs like this are appearing at medical centers around the country. In medicine and science, attitudes change slowly. The Nobel Prize winner physicist Max Plank, one of the founders of quantum physics is quoted to have said in 1936, “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” Integrative Medicine in Tucson is at the epicenter of this “quantum change” in medicine.
Integrative Medical Doctor
Dr. Yost is an instructor for medical students and residents with the Program In Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona medical school in Tucson founded by Andrew Weil M.D. This program trains doctors from all over the country who want to practice Integrative Medicine Dr. Yost teaches his specialty of Functional Medicine.
To clarify these terms, Integrative Medicine combines treatments from conventional medicine (i.e. prescription medications) and complementary and alternative (CAM) (i.e. acupuncture or yoga), for which there is some high-quality evidence of safety and effectiveness. It is also called integrated medicine. Many health care institutions have begun integrating therapies that aren’t part of mainstream medicine into their treatment programs.
A number of medical schools now include education on nontraditional techniques. As complementary and alternative therapies prove effective, they’re being combined more often with conventional care. This is known as Integrative Medicine.
Functional Medicine is a patient-centered approach that goes beyond a typical holistic model to balance core functional processes in the body such as cellular metabolism, digestive function, detoxification, and control of oxidative stress. A combination of elements comes together in the functional medicine model:
- A thorough understanding of physiological and biochemical function, from cellular to organ levels;
- Knowledge of well-established interventions for altering gene expression; and
- An intensive study of the fundamental biological processes that can cut across organ systems and medical specialties.
- Produces a unique approach to health care that focuses on achieving health through optimizing physiological function.
Functional Medicine is intended for complex and often chronic diseases for which there is limited success with conventional medicine such as irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia to name a few. Neither Functional Medicine or Integrative Medicine is intended for acute or emergency medical problems. It is likely that there will be many more Integrative Medical doctor in the future as well as Functional Medicine doctors.