What is Integrative Medicine?

As our name suggests, MindStream Integrative Medicine is an integrative medicine practice. But, since it’s a relatively new concept to the general public, you may be asking yourself, “What exactly is integrative medicine?” So, in this post, we’ll explore what integrative medicine is. We’ll also answer some of your most frequently asked questions about this increasingly popular approach to healing and well-being.

What is Integrative Medicine?

Basically, integrative medicine (sometimes referred to as integrated medicine) is a holistic approach to healthcare that considers conventional medicine as one tool in a much larger toolkit. Furthermore, it believes that other types of therapies can be equally effective, such as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies. Importantly, with Integrative Medicine CAM, therapies are used alongside conventional medicine, not instead of it.

What is the goal?

The goal of integrative medicine is essentially to improve a person’s overall health and well-being by addressing the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their health in ways that are aligned with the individual’s values. Additionally, the body is able to heal itself. So by supporting the body’s natural healing processes, people can achieve better health outcomes.

What types of therapies are used in Integrative Medicine?

Several different types of therapies can be used to achieve better health. Importantly, an individual’s needs and preferences will determine which specific therapies. Some of the most common therapies are:


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine technique that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. It is thought to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities. We refer to several local acupuncture practices.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is the use of plants and plant-based products to treat health conditions. It has been used for centuries to treat a variety of conditions, including pain, anxiety, and depression. Examples include ashwagandha, a botanical medicine from the plant Withania somnifera, which is a type of adaptogen, or plant medicine that offers adapting assistance to the experiences of life.


Homeopathy is a system of medicine that uses very dilute substances to treat health conditions. It is essentially based on the principle of “like cures like.”

Massage therapy

Massage therapy is a hands-on therapy that uses pressure, kneading, and other techniques to relax muscles and improve circulation. It can be helpful for a variety of conditions, including pain, stress, and anxiety. We refer to several local massage therapists.


Meditation is a mind-body practice that involves focusing the mind on a single point, such as the breath. It is commonly used to help reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase focus. We often teach meditation one-on-one and can provide group meditation. Additionally, we help patients with breathing exercises such as intentional sighing to help lower anxiety and increase feelings of calmness.


Naturopathy is a system of medicine that emphasizes the use of natural therapies, such as herbs, diet, and exercise, to treat health conditions. It is based on the belief that the body has the ability to heal itself. Although naturopaths are licensed healthcare professionals, naturopathy is not a recognized field in Tennessee….yet!


Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Additionally, it can be helpful for a variety of conditions, including pain, stress, and anxiety. We often recommend that people go to certain types of yoga classes, such as Yoga Nidra, for help with stress or adrenal hyperactivity.

Sound Healing and Energy Medicine

Sound healing uses specific instruments, music, tones, and other sonic vibrations to balance and heal the body, mind, and spirit. Energy medicine, on the other hand, focuses on the body’s energy field, or aura, and uses techniques such as reiki, qigong, and therapeutic touch to promote healing. We offer sound healing and energy medicine services in our office at MindStream.

What conditions can Integrative Medicine help treat?

Evidence suggests that integrative medicine can be effective in treating a variety of health conditions, especially when a patient has multiple conditions at once. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraines
  • Stress
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic diseases such as diabetes or obesity
  • Autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus

What are the benefits of Integrative Medicine?

Here are some of the benefits of integrative medicine. It can:

  • help to improve overall health and well-being.
  • reduce the need for conventional medications.
  • have fewer side effects than conventional medications.
  • be more affordable than conventional medications.
  • help to improve one’s quality of life.

What are the 5 domains of Integrative Medicine?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) has identified five domains of integrative medicine:

  1. Biomedical therapies: Biomedical therapies are based on the scientific understanding of the body and how it works. So, they include conventional medical treatments such as surgery, medication, and radiation therapy.
  2. Mind-body therapies: Mind-body therapies focus on the mind-body connection and how thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can affect health. Therefore, they include therapies such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture.
  3. Nutritional therapies: Nutritional therapies focus on the role of diet and nutrition in health and disease. Additionally, they include therapies such as dietary supplements, special diets, and nutritional counseling.
  4. Environmental therapies: Environmental therapies focus on the impact of the environment on health. So, they include therapies such as exposure to sunlight, air pollution, and toxins.
  5. Whole medical systems: These systems of medicine are based on a holistic approach to health and disease. Therefore, they include systems such as traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, naturopathy, and homeopathy.

Additional Resources

Several resources are available for those interested in learning more about integrative medicine. Here are a few resources available online:

Choosing a Qualified Practitioner

If you are interested in seeing an integrative medicine practitioner, talk to your current healthcare provider to learn if it might be right for you. Also, be sure to find an integrative medicine practitioner who is certified by a reputable organization such as one of those listed above. We recommend using the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine’s simple online tool to find an integrative healthcare practitioner in your area. Importantly, you should feel comfortable with the practitioner and confident that they can help you to achieve your health goals.

About Dr. Amy Price Neff

Dr. Price Neff is board certified in Integrative Medicine by the American Board of Integrative Medicine. A board-certified Family Medicine doctor, she is also fellowship trained in psychedelic medicine and psychiatric medicine. Additionally, she has studied Ayurvedic Medicine, as well as deep inquiries into the microbiome, cancer metabolism, nutrition, mindfulness, medications and the mind, autoimmunity, and the clinical questions that come up in daily practice. For the team at MindStream, the excitement that comes from continuous learning is one of the most precious fuels for practice. Learn more about Dr. Neff and the MindStream team.

Learn more about why we started MindStream Integrative Medicine

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