INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE CAPE TOWN: Dr Daphne Lyell (Homeopath and Integrative GP)
INTEGRATIVE MEDICINE is practicing medicine from the solid orthodox base of diagnosis and treatment, but allowing for the selective incorporation of non-invasive alternative or complementary systems. The focus is on building and supporting health as opposed to fighting disease.
Integrative medicine recognises the holistic and unique nature of human beings, our complexity and the multi-factorial causes of disease. The patient and Integrative doctor work together in a partnership. Following a comprehensive assessment, they develop a combination of lifestyle, nutritional, herbal and supplemental support unique to each patient.
For an insight into the thinking of an integrative doctor, consider the following as a progression from health to disease:
In the first and most healthy state, an integrative doctor looks at all lifestyle related activities – what the diet consists of, how much exercise and recreation there is, as well as how stress is managed in work and relationships. Another contributing factor, though very subjective, is the sense of meaning and purpose in life.
The next state is one of dysfunction and deficiency and moves us closer to a disease state. Here prominent symptoms are experienced, for instance bloating, brain fog, chronic exhaustion, decreased appetite, increased cravings often changes in mood. There may be menstrual abnormalities due to hormonal imbalances or nutritional deficiencies causing problems with detoxification pathways. This state of imbalance can often be reversed with simple measures and just supplying the body with what it needs in order to heal itself. In integrative medicine the treatment can be as varied as looking at improving sleep, improving diet, possibly dietary changes or supplementation. Often dietary triggers can be hard to pin down, and an elimination diet and reintroduction process will be used to establish triggers. The Integrative medicine approach is always very patient specific as their unique set of circumstances and stressors need to be explored.
In the final state, clients present with very clear disease. Here we have a conventional diagnoses – and this is the area where mainstream medicine focuses. We very seldom move from the first to last state in a short period of time – mostly it is the result of years of poor lifestyle choices. This final state can be a bit more difficult to treat, but through an integrative medicine approach, there are usually ways to support the body and it’s innate healing ability to improve quality of life.