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Integrative Medicine Terms: A Deep-Dive

Many people these days are after an integrative medical solution– one that combines conventional functional (biology-based) medical care with holistic alternative health therapies. 

 

We know that Medical terms can be wordy and sometimes even confusing.

 

In this online integrative medicine dictionary, we’ll give you definitions of integrative health terms, medical conditions, and treatment options.

 

Ready to learn more? Read on!

Industry Terms Dictionary

Here are some of the industry terms you may come across, and what they mean:

A

Alternative Medicine

Any medical treatment that deviates from conventional treatment practices. This includes Eastern medicine, herbal remedies, and dietary changes.

 

Alternative Medicine Doctor

Any medical doctor who also works to provide holistic health treatments. The term “integrative doctor” may also apply.

C

D

Complementary Medicine

Alternative treatments taken in addition to conventional medical care. For example, acupuncture is often used alongside chemotherapy in cancer patients, and may help with nausea and pain.

Conventional Medicine

Traditional medical practice, backed up by replicable scientific research. Conventional medicine generally addresses and treats the symptoms with medications, which is different than integrative medicine, which investigates the root-cause of the symptoms and looks at healing the whole body.

E

F

Forum Health

A  nationwide network of integrative and functional medicine providers and clinics  that focus on root-cause healing. Find a Forum Health clinic nearby

Functional Doctor

A certified medical doctor, who holds a postgraduate degree in medicine. Functional medicine doctors are often certified with the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFMCP).

Functional Nutrition

Evidence-based nutritional advice, based in biological science and understanding of the human dietary system.

 

Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that aims to identify and address the root causes of disease and dysfunction. It focuses on understanding the interconnectedness of various bodily systems and how they contribute to overall health. In a functional medicine practice, healthcare providers work with patients to create personalized treatment plans that promote wellness and address the underlying factors contributing to their health issues.

G

H

Health Coach

A person employed in the medical field to guide adherence to lifestyle or medical interventions. Health coaches are trained in a wide range of holistic and conventional health practices.

 

Holistic Doctor

A doctor who takes a “whole body” approach to treatment, working with your mental, emotional, and spiritual health in mind. They may also prescribe conventional medical treatment or lifestyle interventions.

 

Holistic Medicine

Interventions that differ from conventional medical practice, including naturopathy, spirituality, and mental health treatment.

I

Integrative Doctor

An integrative medicine doctor, also known as an integrative physician or integrative healthcare provider, is a medical professional who practices integrative medicine. Integrative medicine doctors are trained in conventional medicine and have additional training in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) modalities. They combine the best practices from both conventional medicine and evidence-based CAM therapies to provide comprehensive healthcare to their patients.

 

Integrative Health

A healthcare practice that draws from both functional and alternative medicine, focusing on forming individualized treatment plans for patients.

Integrative Medicine

Conventional medical practice, alongside alternative treatments. This is similar to complementary medicine. 

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Lifestyle Medicine

Health interventions that focus on behavior or environment modification to treat lifestyle-induced ailments. This can include changes to diet and exercise, sleep patterns, and mental health framework applications.

Schedule your personalized healthcare appointment today!

M

Mind-Body Medicine

A form of lifestyle intervention that focuses on exercise and physical health, along with mental practices. Examples include yoga or tai chi.

N

Naturopath

An alternative treatment practitioner who promotes natural and non-invasive treatments. This can range from lifestyle interventions and herbal supplements to nutritional advice and Eastern medicine.

Naturopathic Doctor

A naturopathic practitioner who has received a certified postgraduate education in naturopathy.

Naturopathic Medicine

A form of alternative or complementary medicine that focuses on natural remedies and lifestyle changes.

O

P

Personalized Medicine

Medical treatment tailored to an individual, in some instances even based on their genetic profile, allowing for highly specialized treatment.

Preventive Medicine

Healthcare practices that work to lessen the possibility of disease or disability. This includes things like regular doctor check-ups, blood pressure monitoring, and a healthy diet.

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Root-Cause Medicine

A health practice that focuses on the underlying cause of the ailment, as opposed to only symptom alleviation. Root-cause medicine focuses on the source of the problem and seeks to fix it.

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T

Telemedicine

Medical treatment provided remotely, either over the phone, the Internet, or through video calls.

U

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Therapies, Conditions, and Specialties

In this section, we’ll cover various conditions and therapies or specialties that are used to treat them.

A

Adrenal Fatigue

An alternative theory that fatigue may be caused by the adrenal glands being unable to keep up with the body’s demand for hormones, primarily cortisol, due to chronic stress.

 

Autoimmune Disorder

A group of diseases in which the body’s immune system malfunctions, and attacks healthy tissues.

B

C

Chelation

A process by which ions and other molecules bind to metals. When a chelating agent is administered in the body, it can bind to metals in the blood and allow them to be excreted. This makes it a helpful intervention in cases like mercury or lead poisoning. 

Chelation therapy is high-risk, can cause death, and is only useful in cases of heavy metal poisoning.

Chronic Disease Management

The process of managing the symptoms of a chronic (long-term) disease, allowing the patient the best quality of life possible. 

Find a Forum Health integrative medicine clinic.

Chronic Pain Treatment

The long-term management of chronic pain, which can include both conventional interventions (like medication or surgery) as well as holistic health measures. This may include lifestyle changes and mental health plans.

D

Detoxification Treatments

Treatments that seek to remove harmful toxins from the body, either through physical or medical intervention.

E

F

Fibromyalgia

A chronic condition characterized by pain throughout the body, fatigue, and sleep difficulties, among other symptoms.

G

Galleri Cancer Screening

A recently-developed blood test that screens for many different types of cancer.

 

Gut Detox

Many commonly consumed substances, such as alcohol, caffeine, and refined sugar can have a negative impact on your gut health. Limiting your intake of these, or other food and drink you have a sensitivity to, can help detox your gut and make you feel better.

 

Gut Health Treatment

Poor gut health can have a negative impact on many aspects of life, from general gastrointestinal distress to lowered energy levels, and even mental health effects. Common gut health treatments include eating a plant-based diet with fiber and fermented foods, maintaining a healthy sleep cycle, and reducing stress.

H

Hashimoto’s Disease

An autoimmune disorder that impacts thyroid functioning, leading to hypothyroidism (your thyroid being underactive.) Symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, and cold sensitivity.

Hormone Replacement Treatments

  • Andropause treatment

    Andropause is the reduction in testosterone production that occurs in males as a natural part of aging. This may cause lowered sex drive, difficulty getting or maintaining erections, and a lack of energy, among other symptoms. Treatment generally involves testosterone replacement via capsules, gels, or patches.

  • BHRT (bioidentical hormone replacement therapy)

    The process of taking man-made hormones to treat hormone dysregulation. Bioidentical hormones are the closest molecularly to what is naturally produced in your body.

  • HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)

    This refers to the general process of taking hormones to make up for a deficit. It’s a common treatment for those going through menopause, or who have had a hysterectomy. HRT can also refer to the hormone treatment administered as part of a gender transition.

  • Low Testosterone

    Occurs when the testicles don’t produce enough testosterone, and can happen at any age. It is a medical condition that can be treated through testosterone replacement therapy, similar to andropause.

  • Menopause Treatment

    In addition to HRT, there are several other interventions available to treat the symptoms of menopause, ranging from lubrication to antidepressants, or other prescription medication.

  • Testosterone Pellets

    A form of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), testosterone pellets are placed under the skin and work to slowly release the hormone. They can last anywhere from three to six months.

  • Estrogen Pellets

    A form of estrogen replacement therapy (TRT), estrogen pellets are placed under the skin and work to slowly release estrogen. They can last anywhere from three to six months.

    Looking for hormone replacement therapy? Get in touch!

Hyperthyroidism

A condition in which the thyroid is overactive. This can lead to weight loss, tremors, and rapid heart rate. Treatments include antithyroid medication, beta-blockers, and radioiodine therapy.

Hypothyroidism

A condition in which the thyroid is underactive. This can lead to weight gain, fatigue, and other symptoms. It is generally treated through hormone replacement.

I

IV therapy

Intravenous therapy allows fluids to enter directly into the vein, leading to faster circulation of medicines or nutrients. 

Learn more abou IV Therapy.

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Leaky Gut

Also known as intestinal permeability or leaky gut syndrome, leaky gut refers to the theory that holes in the intestinal lining may be triggering inflammation and changes in intestinal bacteria.

 

Long Haul Covid

The name for a grouping of symptoms that can linger long after a patient stops testing positive for COVID-19, including respiratory issues, fatigue, and cognitive impairment. Find Long Haul Covid Syndrome treatment.

 

Lyme disease

A bacterial infection spread by tick bites. Symptoms include rash, fever, fatigue, headache, and joint pain or weakness.

 

Lyme disease treatment

Lyme disease can be treated with a course of antibiotics. In some cases, people continue to have symptoms following treatment and may require pain relief or other medication. medical intervention, such as medication or surgery.

M

Medical Weight Loss

Weight loss caused by medical intervention, such as medication or surgery.

 

Medical Weight Loss Drugs
 

  • Liraglutide

    A type of medication known as an incretin mimetic, which stimulates insulin production in the pancreas. It can be used to help treat type-two diabetes. It can also be prescribed for weight management in cases where lifestyle intervention has been ineffective.

     

  • Naltrexone

    Typically prescribed alongside bupropion, this medication can lead to weight management improvements if combined with diet and exercise interventions. Naltrexone can also be prescribed to treat alcohol or drug dependency.

     

  • Phentermine

    Phentermine is a medication that may help reduce appetite and is often used in combination with other therapies to induce weight loss. It has been investigated in obesity and is also used to manage weight and glycemic targets in people with type 2 diabetes.

     

  • Semaglutide

    A drug that stimulates insulin production and can lead to significant improvement in weight management while taking the medication. While the commonly-referred-to brand name Ozempic is used primarily in the treatment of type-two diabetes, though it can be prescribed for weight management in obese individuals, other semaglutide medications may be prescribed solely for assistance with weight management.
    Find Semaglutide Weight Loss Treatments Nearby

 

  • Sermorelin

    A medication that works to stimulate growth hormone production. It can be used to help the process of muscle tissue generation and may assist with weight management in obese adults.

     

  • Tesofensine

    A serotonin, adrenaline, and dopamine reuptake inhibitor (it raises levels of these hormones in your body by preventing them from being reabsorbed once released). It has been shown to positively affect weight management by increasing resting energy output. 

     

  • Tirzepatide

    This medication improves blood sugar level control in patients with type-two diabetes and may help with weight management.

     

Menopause

A naturally occurring reduction in hormone production that occurs in females as they reach middle age. Common symptoms include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and sleep disturbances.

 

Mold Exposure Treatment

Allergic reactions to mold (typically black mold) can be treated with nasal sprays, antihistamines, or allergy shots.

N

NAD Therapy

A modern treatment for brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinsons. Potential benefits may include anti-aging properties, increased energy & reduced fatigue, and it may have a positive impact on brain health and neurotransmitter function. Nad+ IV Therapy may be helpful as an aid in mental health conditions and addiction recovery.
Read more about NAD+ IV Therapy

Naturopathic Medicine

A group of natural treatment options, including herbs, acupuncture, and nutritional changes.

 

Nutraceuticals

A supplement derived from foods, purported to have health benefits.

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Peptides

Strings of amino acids that naturally occur in the body. Peptide mimics have positive effects on muscle growth and repair. It may have anti-aging properties when applied to the skin, such as tightening and damage reduction.

PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

A condition characterized by enlarged ovaries with multiple cysts, thought to be caused by the overproduction of certain androgen hormones. Symptoms include heavy or irregular periods, acne, obesity, and fertility issues.

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Sexual Health Treatment

  • Femiwave or Shockwave Therapy

    Application of sound waves to the vaginal area that has been shown to be effective in the treatment of urinary incontinence.

  • Gainswave or Shockwave Therapy

    Advertised as a treatment for erectile dysfunction and promoting penile sensitivity through the application of shockwaves to the genital area.

  • ED (erectile dysfunction)

    The inability to get or sustain an erection. While often linked to older age groups, ED can occur at any age. There are many potential causes for erectile dysfunction, including psychological stressors, lifestyle factors, and underlying illness. If these are ruled out, medical interventions including medication, hormonal treatment, pump devices, or penile injection have been shown to minimize ED. 

  • Mona Lisa Touch

    Experimental laser therapy treatment of menopause-related vaginal atrophy (ie, dryness or pain during sex).

  • Penile Enhancement shot

    There are several different ED treatments, such as injections or shots that may help to increase firmness, stamina, and induce a lasting erection.

  • Vaginal Rejuvenation Shot

    This procedure involves injecting rich blood into the genital region to cause vaginal rejuvenation, including enhanced sexual function.

    Find a Forum Health Doctor Nearby.

     

Supplements

Nutritional supplements are taken alongside normal food consumption to provide extra nutrients. Common supplements include dietary vitamins, protein powder, and herbs.

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Vitamin B12 shots

Injection of vitamin B12 that is useful in those who may have low levels due to diet (common in vegans and vegetarians) or medical conditions. B12 can help raise energy levels and help with gastrointestinal function.
 

Vitamin D IV therapy

IV vitamin therapy, or vitamins delivered directly to your bloodstream intravenously, can help with dehydration and vitamin deficiency. Vitamin D IV therapy may be a useful intervention for those with a vitamin D deficiency, or conditions that prevent them from getting the nutrient through other means. 

Thanks for reading!

Find a Forum Health functional medicine doctor in your area.

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