by Adriana Moise
We are fortunate to live in a country with exceptional acute care. Our trauma hospitals have the best physicians and capabilities of treating the most complicated and life threatening conditions. We pride ourselves on advanced medical and pharmaceutical research. Despite these wins, the field of integrative medicine is on the rise.
Over the past decade, the incidence of childhood chronic diseases like asthma, obesity and learning disorders has increased by at least 13 percent. According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, if we do not reverse the epidemic of Type 2 diabetes, the current generation of young people could be first in the U.S. to “live sicker and die younger” than their parents.
The use of psychotropic—affecting the mind, emotions or behavior—medications in U.S. children is also rapidly increasing. At the start of life, studies show that U.S. infants can have more than 200 toxic chemicals in their umbilical cord blood.
This is a somber horizon for our children. Today, parents are looking to educate themselves to find answers to all these problems through more natural modalities that ensure not only quality of life, but optimal health for future generations.
Integrative medicine may be the answer. It is a blend of conventional and alternative treatments, with emphasis on mind-body connection and the innate ability the body has to heal itself. What makes an integrative holistic pediatrician different is that they listen. Parents sometimes have concerns or questions that they may be reluctant to address, for fear of being judged or not taken seriously. An integrative practitioner understands that the more they know about the patient—both mentally and emotionally—the better they can be treated. The practitioner will implement, when appropriate, mind-body techniques, botanical treatments, food as medicine, nutraceutical treatments and homeopathy, along with allopathic treatments.
While all physicians go through similar training and follow a universal “standard of care”, medicine in the way it is currently practiced is at a crossroads. Our old model of practicing medicine might need to be revised. Integrative care is now part of big health institutions in this country and slowly being introduced in medical residency programs, but the road will be long and arduous.
Adriana Moise is a board-certified pediatrician and an Integrative Medicine Fellow from Dr. Weil’s school, practicing at Integrative Pediatrics, in Quakertown. Connect with her at 215-804-2622 or IntegrativePediatricsMD.com. August 2014.