Integrative medicine applies different skills from a range of modalities, where the principles of each form of medicines are not lost or combined. It is seen as a holistic practice where each modality is applied when it is most beneficial for the client.
The World Health Organisation states that Traditional Medicine is the knowledge and practice of medicine that is based on the philosophies, beliefs and experiences of indigenous cultures. Furthermore, Traditional Medicine is applied for the use of preventing diseases, maintaining well-being, and treating psychological, physical and spiritual illnesses.
Traditional Healthcare incorporates traditional medicine to treat patients where a holistic approach to health and healing will be in harmony with traditional views, as well as consistent with modern scientific theories, an approach to healthcare advocated by Fritjof Capra. Fritjof Capra is a physicist and systems theorist, and a founding director of the Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, which advances schooling for sustainability. Dr. Capra is also on the faculty of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program of the University of California, Berkeley, and teaches at Schumacher College, an international centre for ecological studies in England. In line with Dr. Capra’s theory, Traditional Healthcare takes the approach that each patient will be treated with the modality that will be most beneficial, efficient, and suitable for that particular patient.
This philosophy of incorporating different modalities for the most effective treatment can be thought of as Integrative Medicine. This practice of Integrative Medicine allows a Traditional Healthcare clinic to apply the advances in Western Medicine and the knowledge gained in Traditional Medicine to benefit each patient. A Traditional Healthcare clinic will consist of practitioners from various fields of medicine to create a holistic clinic.
The main purpose of healthcare, according to Capra, is concerned with restoring and maintaining the dynamic balance of the individual, the family, and other social groups. Therefore, Traditional Healthcare’s model includes a more sustainable approach to healthcare in which the individual will learn to partake in their own health and wellbeing with the assistance of practitioners. This extends to the community level.
Traditional Healthcare aims for a well-integrated system of preventive care, reflecting the ideals of J.H. Knowles, an American physician and writer, where not only treatment will be looked at, but recognition that lifestyle, diet and the surrounding environment will impact on health.
Looking at healthcare as a part of a system to create sustainability, it is vital that the knowledge gained from the region’s indigenous medicine be incorporated into a Traditional Healthcare community clinic. Education in health maintenance is also an important part of a sustainable community.
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Capra, F 1983 ‘Wholeness and Health’ in The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, Flamingo, London, pp. 333, 353, 365
Knowles, J H in Capra, F 1983 ‘Wholeness and Health’ in The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, Flamingo, London, p. 365
World Health Organisation 2008, Traditional Medicine: Fact sheet N°134, WHO 2011, viewed 9th of December 2011,