Integrative medicine is a new type of healthcare gaining popularity in the medical world. It uses a variety of therapeutic techniques to treat the whole person, not only the symptoms of illness. Health care providers utilizing integrative methods take into account the person’s biology, psychology, spirituality and lifestyle in treating health issues.
Tracy Wright opened Healing Arts Place, an integrative medicine center, in December but it does not seem like the average doctor’s office.
“I didn’t want it to have a clinical name,” Wright says. “We wanted to give another venue or more tools to people to express themselves.”
The center will predominantly use art therapy and massage to treat patients, but Wright says it will vary depending on what the person needs. An integrative therapist since 1985, Wright has credentials in art therapy, Reiki and healing touch. Reiki is a Japanese energy therapy involving light touch to induce relaxation and mediation.
Other methods of integrative medicine include music therapy, compassionate care, healing touch, support groups, stretching and meditation.Integrative medicine combines alternative treatments within conventional medicine. Jasper Memorial’s Lange-Fuhs Cancer Center has been utilizing integrative methods to give more of a healing touch to patients. This form of health care is gaining momentum as hospital staff plans to create more integrative medicine programs for patients outside of the cancer center.
The first Tri-State Conference on Integrative Medicine, sponsored by Vincennes University Jasper Campus (VUJC) and Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, took place in November at the Jasper Inn. The conference invited nurses, health care administrators, pharmacists, dieticians, nutritionists, social workers and clergy to learn about how to improve the well-being of patients, their families and the community through integrative medicine.
Jim McFaul, continuing education director at VUJC, helped to bring the conference together. He says the goal of the conference was to build a collaborative effort with other hospitals in the state in utilizing integrative medicine. Speakers at the conference included cancer physician Dr. Larry Cripe from the IU School of Medicine and Sr. Maria Tasto with the Sisters of St. Benedict’s ascension health. McFaul says integrative medicine uses traditional medicine practices, but pulls the focus away from pharmaceutical treatments.
“It’s simple to write a prescription,” McFaul said. “The doctors said they needed to change some of their philosophies.”
Tracy Wright’s approach to healing does not include prescribing pharmaceutical drugs. She has a background in counseling rape and incest survivors as well as victims of spousal abuse. She said treatment at The Healing Arts Place can vary between learning how to watercolor to hour-long relaxation sessions. She also has experience in energy work as a spiritualist and therapist.
“That’s the type of people that we want to draw in, people who are in deep pain and don’t feel like they can express themselves to anyone,” Wright said.“This is a safe environment. We try to find them, whatever it takes, wherever they are coming from, and meet them at that level and make a plan with them on how to heal what they need. We are trying to be very open, different.”
The center will teach all types of art mediums including clay, rock, sculpture, basic drawing, watercolor, looming and some photography.
Wright takes clinical care out of her treatment through support groups and compassionate care. At the Healing Arts Place, private therapy sessions will be combined with group therapy such as movie nights to show educational films. Wright says she aims to raise awareness in caring for one’s own health.
“Basically, I love to teach. I love learning new things and I love to share knowledge,” Wright says.
Integrative medicine puts the patient at the center of their care and wellness. Wright says therapeutic treatment of illness allows people more control of their wellness.
At the Healing Arts Place, many therapists come together to treat various ailments. Others involved include Jeanne Bodorff with Access BARS. Wright says this therapy works with the brain and getting to core of issues in whole different way.
Another therapist Denise Schnell uses One Brain integration to help children who are having difficulties with education. Wright says Schnell puts the fun back in learning.
Whether through The Healing Arts Place or a more traditional medical office, integrative medicine has potential to alter how the medical world treats patients.
Kelly Klauss with Jasper Memorial Hospital says integrative medicine takes into consideration other components of health.
“It really aims to address the person’s physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and socio-economic well-being,” Klauss said. “So it’s much more than physical care.”
Jasper Memorial continues to develop and apply integrative medicine in various health care settings. Meanwhile, people suffering with an illness have options besides drugs or surgery in treatment of what’s ailing them. Integrative Medicine opens the door to all types of treatment, even if nontraditional.
Healing Arts Place website