We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Alternative Integrative Medicine?

By R. Bargar
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Alternative integrative medicine is a patient-centered trend in medicine that combines the practice of conventional medicine with various alternative treatments and approaches to health. In the later half of the 20th century, increasing numbers of people began exploring alternatives to conventional Western medicine. At the same time, the numbers of practitioners of alternative medicine also increased. As the name suggests, alternative treatments were primarily used instead of conventional Western medicine, while complementary treatments were often combined with conventional ones. Proponents of alternative integrative medicine see it as a lower-cost, more effective way of not only treating, but also preventing disease.

Conventional Western medicine is disease focused, seeking better methods of diagnosing and treating people after they have become ill. Alternative integrative medicine, on the other hand, seeks to first prevent illness through the work of patients and health care providers acting as a team. This approach centers on patients' responsibility for their health through lifestyle interventions. The health care provider educates and guides healthy patients, helping them preserve their state of health. Alternative integrative medicine uses the treatment methods of conventional and alternative medicine if an illness occurs.

Some of the complementary and alternative medicine approaches utilized in integrative medicine include herbs, mind-body methods, acupuncture, diet and therapeutic massage. There is an underlying belief that the body has the capacity to heal itself given the proper conditions, which these alternative medicine methods are believed to provide. Proponents of alternative integrative medicine believe many of these methods are lower in cost and have fewer side effects than the reliance on pharmaceuticals and surgical interventions found in conventional medicine. Integrative medicine uses many of the diagnostic methods of conventional medicine. This differs from alternative medicine practices that infrequently use conventional diagnostic procedures.

The increase in alternative integrative medicine is thought to be partially due to patients' desire for lower cost, more personalized treatment. With its patient-centered focus, integrative medicine seeks medical interventions that promote health with active patient involvement. This ideally requires that health care providers have a complete knowledge of their patients, not just their illnesses. Integrative medicine also recognizes the importance of treating the whole person. Some research has shown that using mind-body techniques — such as meditation, yoga and other spiritual practices — promotes healing and wellness.

Alternative integrative medicine requires new methods of training physicians and other health care practitioners. Increasing numbers of medical schools are now offering coursework to prepare health care providers for integrative medical practices. In addition to conventional medical knowledge, students are presented with the latest research on nutrition and alternative medicine methods. Some in the health care profession see the growth of alternative integrative medicine as a possible solution for the increasing incidence of chronic diseases in the developed world.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.