The Minnesota Health Commissioner, Dr. Ed Ehlinger, stated “We cannot afford to treat our way out of this crisis. We must more strongly focus on preventing chronic disease or delaying its progression by investing in healthier communities, public health and primary care”.2
I could not agree more!
Integrative medicine emphasizes lifestyle and dietary changes, which can have a big impact on chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. 3, 4
As a Naturopathic Doctor I have the opportunity to spend 90 minutes with my patients, really digging in to their condition and helping them create solutions. What makes holistic care critical in chronic disease is we go after the core dysfunction causing the illness.
Conventional care is often reduced to short visits due to insurance reimbursement limitations. This model that provides doctors only 10-15 minutes with patients is not a health care model, it is a sick care model. How can a doctor create a relationship with their patient in only 10 minutes? How can you effectively support someone to stop smoking, eat more vegetables or exercise in only 10 minutes? Integrative medicine is poised to help bridge this gap and provide excellent care to chronically ill patients.
Dr. Sara Jean Barrett is a registered Naturopathic Doctor and co-founder of Wellness Minneapolis. She is also the Vice President of the Minnesota Association of Naturopathic Physicians and a Member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians. Click here to learn more about Dr. Barrett.
2. Minnesota Department of Health Press Release January 2016
3. Rustum Roy. Integrative Medicine to Tackle the Problem of Chronic Disease. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2010 Jan-Mar; 1(1): 18-21.
4. Roberts CK, Barnard RJ. Effects of Exercise and Diet on Chronic Disease. J Appl Physiol. 2005 Jan; 98(1):3-30