Frequently Asked Questions about our Holistic Medicine Approach

What is integrative medicine?

Integrative medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center. It addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that can affect a person’s health. This strategy considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs, circumstances and environment, then uses the most appropriate interventions. These therapies are taken from an array of scientific disciplines to not only heal illness and disease, but to help people achieve and maintain optimal health.

Will integrative medicine interfere with the treatment I’m getting from my doctor?

No, it will not. The use of the word “integrative” is intentional, because this approach to care is designed to complement the treatment you are receiving from a physician. You may find that the integrative service you receive will dramatically reduce symptoms from which you are suffering, perhaps easing pain and creating a feeling of well-being.

Is this all really based on science, or is it just feel-good therapy?

University Hospitals is a teaching hospital, so the therapies offered through University Hospitals Connor Integrative Health Network are those that are supported by evidence-based research. The amount of research on mind and body approaches varies widely depending on the practice. For example, acupuncture, yoga and meditation have had many studies, and these practices appear to hold promise in pain management.

Do acupuncture needles hurt?

No, they don’t. Acupuncture needles are extremely thin – nearly hair-like in dimension. You often don’t even feel them entering the skin.

Aren’t these the kinds of treatments that just help you relax, but do nothing more?

While these treatments may make you feel relaxed, that is not their inherent purpose. Relaxation is a side effect, but not the main component, which is to address the patient’s condition(s). Again, the efficacy of therapies used in integrative medicine are built upon evidence-based research.

What makes massage therapy different than just getting a massage at one of the chain businesses?

Getting a massage is frequently relaxing, but massage therapy as a treatment form in integrative medicine has a different focus. This hands-on therapy mobilizes and releases muscle and connective tissue to enhance the function of those tissues and to increase the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. And yes, it also promotes relaxation and well-being.

What if my doctor doesn’t believe in integrative medicine?

Perhaps your doctor is only minimally familiar, or unfamiliar, with integrative medicine. We do offer physicians a referral form that is designed to provide details on the services we offer. But a referral isn’t required to use our services. We recommend that you contact us directly to find out more about how a particular therapy can help you. Or, you can make an appointment for a integrative medicine consultation.

Why would I need an integrative medicine consultation about integrative medicine, especially if I already know which treatments I want?

You might not need a consultation. However, many of those who turn to integrative medicine want to know more about which therapies might be most helpful for their condition and have a hard time deciding which of our services will be best for them. For example, perhaps you think that acupuncture might help you with a certain kind of pain – but when the integrative physician assistant learns more about what type of pain you have, he or she might want to recommend myofascial therapy instead of acupuncture. A consultation can save you time and ensure that you are getting the most appropriate treatment.

How is yoga therapy different from taking a yoga class at my gym or neighborhood studio?

Yoga classes are for a group, whereas yoga therapy is more individualized. It adapts the practice of yoga to the needs of people who may have a health challenge. Yoga therapy is offered one-on-one, so the yoga therapist can create exercises tailored for an at-home practice. This will involve postures, breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. Often, yoga therapy is offered to people who are unable to participate in a regular group class or who have specific concerns such as back pain, hypertension or asthma. Yoga therapy is designed to help a person progress toward their own version of greater health and well-being.

Do you take insurance?

Most services are self-pay except for integrative medicine consultations and osteopathic services. We can bill insurance for that service only. However, there are some insurance companies that cover treatments such as acupuncture, while others do not. It is best to check with your insurance company first. If your insurance does not cover these therapies, you will have to pay out of pocket. We can provide forms for you to submit to your insurance for payment. If you have an HSA or FSA plan through your employer, you can put money aside that can often be used for therapies offered through UH Connor Integrative Health Network.

How can I learn more about integrative medicine at UH?

You can learn more about UH Connor Integrative Health Network through this website. Here we also provide links to news stories and articles about our practitioners and services, and integrative medicine topics. If you have specific questions, please call us at 216-285-4070.

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