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Integrative Practice


A Commons Health framework is intrinsically systems oriented. It includes the development of, and transformation to, systems that are health promoting at a variety of levels. For this framework to be successful, we need systems oriented medical, nursing and other health professionals.  


Integrative medicine is, by its very nature, holistic, through its recognition of the interplay between mind, body, spirit, community and ecological health. Moreover, integrative medicine has developed a deserved reputation for a focus on prevention and health promoting environments. Research reveals that immediate and significant health benefits and cost savings can be realized throughout our healthcare system by utilizing three key integrative strategies:


  • Integrative lifestyle change programs for those with chronic disease

  • Integrative interventions for people experiencing depression

  • Integrative preventive strategies to support wellness in all populations


Importantly, integrative health and medicine embraces a philosophy that love and compassion are some of the greatest healers. This principle is an important foundation and reminder as we work to address health equity.

Physicians at ABIHM Booth
While the ecological health benefits of integrative approaches have not yet been fully documented, we can appreciate that these preventive approaches might demonstrate other important benefits — a reduction in climate impacts associated with a reduction in energy intensive medical care, or reductions of pharmaceutical discharge to water ways and other medical waste reduction achieved through lifestyle rather than pharmacological treatment approaches.
Communities and patients will be served by approaches that work to prevent disease, and that recognize the role of health disparities and other social factors in the disease process. An understanding of a patient’s social-cultural history, nutritional, and community environments is essential.
Studies show that people with greater social ties live longer than those with fewer social ties. The support and love that comes from community is part of what integrative medicine calls an “optimal healing environment,” which is defined as a system and place comprised of people, behaviors, treatments, and their psychological and physical parameters.
Providers need support, training and other skills that integrate the patients and community in ways that have not yet been fully appreciated in healthcare, such as community activism. Inherent in a preventive approach are team-based models of practice that draw on the skill sets, capacities and knowledge of clinical and non-clinical staff. In a commons health care, these teams will be comprised of systems-minded individuals, working at the intersection of community, environments, and healthcare.

Selected Integrative Practice Resources


  • Bravewell Collaborative - a community of leading philanthropists who work together to transform our health care system and improve the health of the American public through the advancement of integrative medicine.