What is Integrative Medicine?

Wellness Medicine in Clifton Hills, offering an integrative approach to holistic care and traditional general practice.

Dr Joanna Hickey talks about integrative medicine and Wellness Medicine Clifton Hill.

I discovered integrative medicine 14 years ago, and I had been a partner in a conventional general practice. What I was finding was I was getting increasingly frustrated with the, both the disease model of medicine where we seemed to be just focusing on what is wrong with the body rather than supporting the body to overcome the particular problem, so that imbalance upon really focusing on the disease stage. The second thing is the very simplistic approach that I felt there was in adopting a pill for every ill, so that prescribing a pharmaceutical to match a particular diagnosis, I found not at all satisfactory.

I can remember from even when I trained in medical school getting very frustrated with just looking at pathology parts, looking at those disease specimens in their little jars, looking at diseased patients in the hospital beds where they were referred to by their diagnosis – the rheumatoid arthritis in bed 6. I found that really quite demoralizing.

So after some time, I was investigating looking at other approaches toward supporting health. That included, I took up the practice of meditation, I looked a lot at using diet and dietary supplements, herbal medicine, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, looking at other traditions and how they supported health. While I was doing that in my role as a principal in a conventional general practice, that was quite challenging at the time for the other doctors. It became very difficult for me to be able to practice in this way and explore these interests in that setting.

I decided to open up a clinic where I would actually be free to do that, but I also wanted to keep the philosophy of the family medical practice, which despite all of the pitfalls, I had also found in some way satisfying. That included knowing people over a long period of time, knowing families over a long period of time. I think actually I was talking about surgeons. Obviously in that type of discipline, you’re not going to be safe – well, you might – but in our discipline, you see someone over a very long period of time, you really get to know them. You’re also a part of the community that they belong to.

I wanted to honor the family medical practice alongside with the more holistic style of practice that I was interested in. At the time, there were people practicing integrative medicine or holistic style of medicine, but some people tended to think, “Well, you are in general practice” or you were going to a clinic that was dedicated to the integrative medicine. And I wanted to actually keep the both facets of medicine, which is why I opened this clinic.