||It has been suggested that this article be merged with Alternative medicine. (Discuss) Proposed since February 2013.|
Integrative medicine or integrative health is the combination of practices and methods of alternative medicine with evidence based medicine. The term has been popularised by, among others, Deepak Chopra, VA Shiva Ayyadurai, Andrew Weil and Prince Charles. Weil says that patients should take the Western medicine prescribed by the doctor, and could significantly benefit from complementary therapies such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and herbal remedies, meditation and other strategies.
In the UK, the universities of Buckingham and Westminster have previously offered courses in integrative medicine, for which they have received criticism. Integrative medicine receives the same types of criticisms that are directed at alternative medicine. Arnold S. Relman, a former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine wrote:
There is no doubt that modern medicine as it is now practiced needs to improve its relations with patients, and that some of the criticisms leveled against it by people such as Weil -- and by many more within the medical establishment itself -- are valid. There also can be no doubt that a few of the "natural" medicines and healing methods now being used by practitioners of alternative medicine will prove, after testing, to be safe and effective. This, after all, has been the way in which many important therapeutic agents and treatments have found their way into standard medical practice in the past. Mainstream medicine should continue to be open to the testing of selected unconventional treatments. In keeping an open mind, however, the medical establishment in this country must not lose its scientific compass or weaken its commitment to rational thought and the rule of evidence.
There are not two kinds of medicine, one conventional and the other unconventional, that can be practiced jointly in a new kind of "integrative medicine." Nor, as Andrew Weil and his friends also would have us believe, are there two kinds of thinking, or two ways to find out which treatments work and which do not. In the best kind of medical practice, all proposed treatments must be tested objectively. In the end, there will only be treatments that pass that test and those that do not, those that are proven worthwhile and those that are not. Can there be any reasonable "alternative"?
The US government has funded studies of integrative medicine through the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale School of Medicine, wrote that NCCAM's activities are "used to lend an appearance of legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate." Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine said "It's a new name for snake oil."
Organizations such as The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, The College of Medicine and The Sunflower Jam that advocate or raise money for integrative medicine in the UK have been criticised in the British Medical Journal for promoting unproven complementary treatments.
See also 
- James May (12 July 2011). "College of Medicine: What is integrative health?". British Medical Journal 343: d4372. doi:10.1136/bmj.d4372. PMID 21750063.
- What Is Complementary and Alternative Medicine? National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (Accessed 20 February 2011
- "Systems Health - Dr. VA Shiva Ayyadurai". Retrieved 11 February 2013.
- Nigel Hawkes (2010). "Prince’s foundation metamorphoses into new College of Medicine" 341. British Medical Journal. p. 6126. doi:10.1136/bmj.c6126.
- David Colquhoun (April 1, 2010). "University of Buckingham does the right thing. The Faculty of Integrated Medicine has been fired.". DC's Improbable Science.
- David Colquhoun (March 22, 2007). "Science degrees without the science". Nature 446 (22): 373–4. doi:10.1038/446373a. PMID 17377563.
- Jim Giles (March 22, 2007). "Degrees in homeopathy slated as unscientific". Nature 446 (22): 352–3. doi:10.1038/446352a.
- Brown, David (17 March 2009). "Scientists Speak Out Against Federal Funds for Research on Alternative Medicine". The Washington Post.
- Arnold S. Relman. A trip to Stonesville. The New Republic, Dec 14, 1998.
- Jane Cassidy (15 June 2011). "Lobby Watch: The College of Medicine". British Medical Journal 343. doi:10.1136/bmj.d3712. PMID 21677014.