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Natural Awakenings Fairfield Cty/Housatonic Valley, CT

True Integrative Medicine

Dec 19, 2010 09:43PM ● By Dr. Robert Zembroski

Dr. Robert Zembroski

True Integrative Medicine

The term ‘integrative medicine’ (IM) refers to a new practice of healthcare, where the focus is on treating the entire person—mind, body and spirit— rather than specific parts and/or a single disease. IM, by definition, is a partnership between the patient and chosen healthcare practitioners. This approach employs the use of therapies that are supported by high-quality evidence in conjunction with conventional medicine and medical procedures, when necessary. This evolving method of patient care is rapidly becoming the mainstream choice, as the nation’s hospitals, medical schools and universities increasingly adopt it.

 The conventional heath-care practice of a “pill for an ill” is not only antiquated, it has failed in the arena of disease resolution. Because all health problems and diseases are multi-dimensional, with many underlying roots, attempting to tackle human ills with a magic bullet doesn’t work. An integrative approach is proving to be a more effective way to manage the person and his or her health issues.

 While the relationship between reactive and functional medicine continues to evolve, patients are experiencing an increase in the availability of educational information and as a result a huge shift in consciousness. The public is becoming more educated about the necessity for health-care reform, not only governmentally, but also within themselves. This understanding encompasses lifestyle modifications, including a shift away from high-calorie, low-nutrient processed foods, and toward adequate amounts of exercise and sleep, as well as supplements to fill in the potholes of an unhealthful diet.

 As a result of unhealthy diets and other bad choices, heart disease is the biggest cause of mortality in this country, accounting for over 900,000 deaths per year. Heart disease is a multi-system problem involving the digestive system, diet, blood fat (triglycerides, cholesterol), oxidation of the cholesterol (free radicals), stress hormones, lack of exercise, and the genetic uniqueness of the individual. While mainstream treatment is geared only to reduce cholesterol and reduce blood pressure, in the hope this will prevent heart disease, the fact is that mortality due to this problem is on the rise!

 Taking an integrative approach to heart health and cardiovascular disease may ideally include utilizing a team of professionals to coach you through the implementation of nutritional changes, stress reduction techniques, adjusting hormone imbalances, and so on. The same support would be appropriate for the treatment of type-II diabetes, osteoporosis, fatigue, auto-immune disease, hormone imbalances, and spinal pain.

 Patients are beginning to see that the focus should be on the mechanisms of disease, illness, hormone imbalance, pain, and so on, and not so much on a perceived competition between conventional and non-conventional medicine. The real effort, as Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D., has stated, should be on a “systems biological approach” to understanding and resolving the illness within. By listening to the patient, taking an appropriate health history, along with a proper evaluation—physical exam, blood work, hormone profiling—a broader/multi-plan (integrative approach) can be implemented for disease management and resolution.

Dr. Robert Zembroski is a Board-Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and an expert in functional medicine. He has extensive experience in neurological, digestive and hormonal disorders. As Director of The Darien Center for Integrative Medicine, Dr. Z. takes complicated issues and makes them easily understood, allowing the listener to make better decisions about health care needs. For more information, call 203.655.4494 or visit