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Integrated medicine

BMJ 2001; 322 doi: (Published 20 January 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;322:119

Imbues orthodox medicine with the values of complementary medicine

  1. Lesley Rees (, director of education,
  2. Andrew Weil (, director and professor of medicine
  1. Royal College of Physicians, London NW1 4LE
  2. Program in Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724-5018, USA

    Integrated medicine (or integrative medicine as it is referred to in the United States) is practising medicine in a way that selectively incorporates elements of complementary and alternative medicine into comprehensive treatment plans alongside solidly orthodox methods of diagnosis and treatment. The concept is better recognised in the US than in the United Kingdom, but a conference in London next week, organised by the Royal College of Physicians and the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, may help to raise its profile in the UK.

    Integrated medicine is not simply a synonym for complementary medicine. Complementary medicine refers to treatments that may be used as adjuncts to conventional treatment and are not usually taught in medical schools. Integrated medicine has a larger meaning and mission, its focus being on health and healing rather than disease and treatment. It views patients as whole people with minds and spirits as well as bodies and includes these dimensions into diagnosis and treatment. It also involves patients and doctors working to maintain health by paying attention to lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, quality of rest …

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