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|It has been suggested that this article be merged with Alternative medicine. (Discuss) Proposed since February 2013.|
Integrative medicine, also referred to as integrated medicine and integrative health in the UK, is the combination of practices and methods of alternative medicine with conventional biomedicine. It emphasizes treating the whole person, with a focus on wellness and health rather than treating disease and on the patient-physician relationship. The term has been popularised by, among others, Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil and Prince Charles. The term is also used by an organization called Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine, which was founded in 1999 to advance the practice of integrative medicine. The 56 academic medical centers in the consortium include Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Duke University Integrative Medicine, Georgetown University School of Medicine, and Mayo Clinic.
In the UK, the universities of Buckingham and Westminster have previously offered courses in integrative medicine, for which they have received criticism. Integrative medicine receives the same types of criticisms that are directed at alternative medicine. Arnold S. Relman, a former editor of The New England Journal of Medicine wrote in 1998:
There is no doubt that modern medicine as it is now practiced needs to improve its relations with patients, and that some of the criticisms leveled against it by people such as Weil -- and by many more within the medical establishment itself -- are valid. There also can be no doubt that a few of the "natural" medicines and healing methods now being used by practitioners of alternative medicine will prove, after testing, to be safe and effective. This, after all, has been the way in which many important therapeutic agents and treatments have found their way into standard medical practice in the past. Mainstream medicine should continue to be open to the testing of selected unconventional treatments. In keeping an open mind, however, the medical establishment in this country must not lose its scientific compass or weaken its commitment to rational thought and the rule of evidence. There are not two kinds of medicine, one conventional and the other unconventional, that can be practiced jointly in a new kind of "integrative medicine." Nor, as Andrew Weil and his friends also would have us believe, are there two kinds of thinking, or two ways to find out which treatments work and which do not. In the best kind of medical practice, all proposed treatments must be tested objectively. In the end, there will only be treatments that pass that test and those that do not, those that are proven worthwhile and those that are not. Can there be any reasonable "alternative"?
The US government has funded studies of complementary and alternative medicine through the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Steven Novella, a neurologist at Yale School of Medicine, said that NCCAM's activities are "used to lend an appearance of legitimacy to treatments that are not legitimate." Speaking about the term "alternative medicine," Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine said "It's a new name for snake oil."
The American Board of Physician Specialties, which awards board certification to medical doctors in the U.S., announced in June 2013 that in 2014 it will begin accrediting doctors in integrative medicine.