What is Integrative and Complementary Care

Integrative and Complementary Care is a general term that refers to using a non-mainstream approach together with conventional medicine. This array of non-mainstream health care approaches may also be considered part of integrative medicine or integrative health care.

For example, cancer treatment centers with integrative and complementary health care programs may offer services such as massage and Reiki to help manage symptoms and side effects for patients who are receiving conventional cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.

There are various definitions for “integrative and complementary health care,” but several facts about this growing health trend are clear:

  • Many individuals, health care providers, and health care systems are integrating various practices with origins outside of mainstream medicine into treatment and health promotion.
  • The integrative trend is growing among providers and health care systems. Several factors include benefits to health or well-being with evidence from clinical studies, which vary greatly.
  • One factor involves the public’s desire to find those modalities that can assist with wellness and quality of life without the use of additional medications.

Mind and Body Practices

Mind and body practices include a large and diverse group of procedures or techniques administered or taught by a trained practitioner or teacher. For example,

  • Massage therapy includes many different techniques in which practitioners manually manipulate the soft tissues of the body.
  • Reiki technique Meditation techniques, such as mindfulness meditation or transcendental meditation, involve ways in which a person learns to focus attention.
  • Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation, are designed to produce the body’s natural relaxation response.
  • Reiki relaxation technique
  • Aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils. These oils utilize the olfactory system and the limbic system