Patients suffering with chronic pain and many other stressful health conditions may feel as though they’ve exhausted medical options for relief. Integrative medicine can give patients renewed hope for taking control of their well-being.
“We have a health care system that is focused on disease care rather than on wellness care,” says Sian Cotton, PhD, director of the UC Health Center for Integrative Health and Wellness and associate professor for the UC College of Medicine. “We spend a lot of money and resources fixing people when they’re broken, rather than focusing on prevention and wellness.”
Dr. Cotton explains that the majority of patients who come to UC Health Integrative Medicine suffer from pain-related conditions, such as back pain, migraines, neck and shoulder pain.
UC Health Integrative Medicine offers conventional medicine with evidence-based complementary therapies, such as mindfulness approaches, nutrition and health coaching, acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga therapy and stress reduction techniques.
The second most-common reason why patients seek integrative health care is cancer related.
“Integrative oncology treatments not only help patients feel better; scientific evidence shows that integrative techniques, in combination with traditional medical management (i.e. chemotherapy, surgery and radiation) allow patients to live longer,” says Rekha Chaudhary, MD, neuro-oncologist for the University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute and assistant professor of medicine in the Department of Hematology/Oncology for UC College of Medicine. “We treat the whole person, not just the cancer, allowing our patients to maximize their mental and physical health.”
Dr. Chaudhary has witnessed inspirational results, such as patients who changed their diet and lived years longer than expected, and those who transitioned from using a wheelchair to riding a stationary bike 10 miles a day.
For example, Dr. Chaudhary cites a reputable trial published in the Journal of American Medical Association Internal Medicine – in which a randomized trial of more than 4,000 women was split into three different diet groups: a Mediterranean diet with olive oil, a Mediterranean diet with nuts, or a low-fat control group diet.
The results were astonishing: they found a 62 percent reduction in the number of new cases of breast cancer in the group who ate the Mediterranean diet with olive oil.
“This diet (is believed to prevent) breast cancer in healthy women better than any drug we have yet discovered,” says Dr. Chaudhary. “Imagine: a 62 percent reduction in your chances of getting cancer by choosing a diet of whole-foods, fresh fruit, vegetables and olive oil. This diet had very limited dairy, meat and sugars.”
UC Health Integrative Medicine has a multi-disciplinary care team; patients have an initial consultation with a physician at the center, then the entire team – the dietician, acupuncturist, meditation instructor, etc. – work together to form a unique treatment plan for each patient.
Connect with a UC Health integrative medicine physician by calling (513) 475-9567 or by visiting UCHealth.com/Integrative.