Integrative Pediatrics Demystified
Discovering the world of integrative healthcare fundamentally changed the way I think about health and wellness. It’s a world of concepts and techniques that, as a pediatric nurse practitioner working in an integrative pediatric clinic, I am confident in discussing with parents and patients because I know the benefits.
And, I am genuinely eager and excited to see the results and learn how integrated healthcare has bettered the lives of my patients and their families.
For me, it’s a framework in which I live my life. But what does it all mean? That's the most common question we receive from new families here at Natural Choice Pediatrics: What is integrative medicine?
What does an integrative approach to my child’s health entail?
Integrative healthcare intertwines traditional medical approaches with natural methods. The overarching goal of an integrative approach is to leverage the best of these two worlds, allowing the practitioner to focus on the whole individual (i.e., the holistic person), seeking healing and wellness rather than simply treating the presenting symptoms. That’s the approach we strive for at Natural Choice Pediatrics.
To say that integrative healthcare has changed my life would be an understatement. I’ve been fortunate to experience this both as a mother and a provider. Traditional medicine has tremendous value, but when integrated with natural approaches, the results are astronomical.
Here’s a sampling of what I see day-to-day:
In the traditional healthcare model, if a child has a virus, he or she is sent home with instructions for supportive care (e.g., rest and fluids). This is a great approach and will undoubtedly benefit the patient during the illness. But integrative healthcare takes it a step further, incorporating a variety of therapeutics that shorten the course and duration of the illness. Both approaches help the patient. Both are valuable. But when paired (integrated), the patient recovers more quickly and suffers less. And that’s the goal for our patients.
A child with chronic eczema is traditionally prescribed topical steroids when seeing a physician practicing traditional medicine. While steroids do help him/her by relieving the symptoms of eczema, it’s basically the equivalent of a Band-Aid slapped on a wound. In the integrative world, we delve deeper into the diagnostics of why the child has eczema. And through doing so, we are generally able to discover the root cause and work toward correcting the underlying issue. It’s an approach with a goal of healing of our patient as opposed to simply treating the symptoms.
The biggest focus of integrative healthcare, as well as our goal at Natural Choice Pediatrics, is prevention. If we can prevent the illnesses and/or diseases before they begin, our patients are healthier and happier. It is empowering, as a provider, to be able to offer the tools needed to help patients be as healthy as possible.
Immune support is the method we use most frequently for prevention. With immune support, our goal is not only to prevent the patient from getting an illness, but also to shorten the course and the duration of the illness if he/she does become ill.
The results of integrative healthcare are astonishing. When we integrate traditional medical approaches with natural treatments, our patients win every time. Integrative healthcare broadens our toolbox and provides us with a bigger picture focusing on the whole person in order to bring healing and wellness. It’s not a substitute for traditional methods. It’s a boost, a value-add, in which the value is measured in your overall health and wellness. That’s our main goal and focus at Natural Choice Pediatrics.
***Note: These statements are general beliefs, and are NOT intended for use in diagnosing or treating patients. For specific recommendations for your child, please consult your healthcare provider.