The Future of Integrative Medicine, an Interview with Dr. Jonas

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What does the future hold for health and wellness research? Wayne B. Jonas, MD, discusses this and more with the staff at the Natural Medicine Journal, an electronic peer-reviewed journal and open access website dedicated to the field of integrative medicine (IM).

Listen to the interview in Episode 6 of the
Integrative Medicine Research Series.

Mainstreaming of Healthy Values

In recent years it seems there is little “health” in the nation’s health care system. By its actions, the health care system showed its laser focus on disease and illness management rather than health promotion.

However, as we look ahead, we begin to see the wellness-focused values of those in the non-traditional wellness field appearing in the lexicon of the mainstream health care system.

Wellness, well-being, health and health promotion are becoming valued by the health care system in its efforts to improve patient care. As the focus shifts from disease-centered care to person-centered care, patients benefit and the nation becomes healthier.

Consumers Demand Health and Wellness

TK SAT-53webSeeing these values in action is as easy as entering the supermarket, where the demands for organic, hormone-free, antibiotic free products have surged. Health and wellness are part of the everyday quest for many consumers who are showing their interest with their wallets, purchasing healthier protein options such as bison, salmon and quinoa.

As these values of health and wellness become mainstream, they continue to have ripple effects as choices are not always an individual behavior, but influenced by the social and physical environments as well.[i]

Mainstreaming of Alternative Practices

The health care system cannot ignore the interest in promoting wellness. This leads to the next trend of mainstreaming practices that were once considered non-traditional by the health care industry.

Once on the fringes, massage and chiropractic care are now more accepted. Even the current administration is discussing how non-drug approaches to chronic pain might alleviate the opioid crisis in America.

BFA Acupuncture needlesThe connection between nutrition and brain function is a focus point of Samueli Institute’s work with the military. As is exploring the value of acupuncture and guided imagery for the signature wounds of the war in the Middle East—post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries.

Researchers and practitioners must continue to show the value of these non-traditional practices for the health industry to adopt them.

But knowing that something works is merely part of the equation.

Knowing how to implement that knowledge within the current system of care is also critical. The term “integrative care” surfaces as a buzz word in the industry; however many health care systems struggle to provide care that combines the best of traditional and non-traditional medicine.

Improving the patient’s experience of care through a focus on integration is highlighted in Samueli Institute’s work in chronic pain care.

Listen to the full interview including the biggest advances and opportunities in the field of Integrative Medicine.