Integrative health is a people-centered approach to disease prevention and health promotion. Integrative health focuses on prevention and treatment of poor health through a comprehensive focus on the connections among mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health.
In integrative health, all factors that can impact human health are considered. To help individuals reach their optimal health, integrative health approaches draw on a broad range of health disciplines, as well as complementary and alternative health approaches. At Canyon Ranch Institute, we apply integrative health in a rigorously evidence-based method that recognizes traditional and new healing practices that have been proven effective.
A fundamental principle of integrative health is that the complex balance that exists among healthy nutrition, regular physical activity, having a sense of purpose, and taking small steps to achieve positive behavior change will lead to healthy outcomes for individuals, communities, nations, and the world at large.
Tenets of Integrative Health
One of the basic tenets of integrative health is that individuals and communities have the ability to control their own health outcomes. Thus, the significant power to achieve a positive health transformation is possible when health and wellness professionals, individuals, and communities collaborate with a shared goal to improve health through the mind-body-spirit connection.
A second tenet of integrative health is understanding and appreciating that the relationship between health and wellness professionals and patients/participants is a major contributor to health outcomes.¹
Cornerstones of Integrative Health
Canyon Ranch Institute defines the cornerstones of integrative health as integrative medicine, nutrition, physical activity, and spirituality (also called sense of purpose).
- Integrative Medicine
Integrative medicine blends conventional (or allopathic) medicine that focuses on treating symptoms after they develop with complementary evidence-based approaches and therapies that focus on prevention of disease.
Centuries ago, Hippocrates developed the adage, “Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” and that remains true today. Scientists continue to investigate the physiologic effect that food has on our bodies.
- Physical Activity
Two types of physical activity are recommended for good health: aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Some of the key risk factors for disease can be reduced or reversed through physical activity and fitness.
- Sense of Purpose/Spirituality
Sense of purpose is an individual’s reason for being and our sense of joy in life. It is well documented that having a sense of purpose positively impacts overall health and well-being.
¹Integrative Medicine and Patient-Centered Care. Meizes, V., Rakel, D., Niemiec, C. Commissioned for the IOM Summit on Integrative Medicine and the Health of the Public. (February, 2009)