I recently attended a symposium conducted by the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Michigan. This two day symposium was dedicated to updating physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants as well as a host of integrated medicine practitioners on research and successes of incorporating integrated medicine in primary care. It was very exciting for me to look at the audience and see over 200 medical professional gather together to learn how they can incorporate integrated medicine in their medical practice.
Some of the highlights:
Dr. Robert Ivker of the Ivker Center for Respiratory Healing spoke of the “body as a self healing organism”, He talked of the risk factors and causes of chronic sinusitis and allergic rhinitis. He recommended natural antifungals such as Allicin and Candex for fungal sinusitis treatment and had a myriad of suggestions for treating allergic rhinitis including grape seed extract, Quercetin, Vitamin C and papaya enzymes. He spoke of the importance of diet (reducing dairy) and clean, moist air for healing mucous membranes.
Sahr Swidan, PharmD, Associate Professor, College of Pharmacy, University of Michigan, spoke on integrative treatments for headaches, She talked of studies that have been done utilizing vitamins and supplements as part of her treatment protocol. These included Riboflavin, Magnesium Glycinate, Feverfew, Co-enzyme Q10, peppermint oil, Willow Bark and Chasteberry.
Dr. John Stracks, MD from the University of Michigan Department of Family and Integrative Medicine, talked about Integrative Treatments for depression. He talked about studies using 5-HTP, Sam-e, Cognitive behavioral therapy and full spectrum lighting in conjunction with SSRI medications.
Dr. Andrew Heyman, MD and adjunct assistant professor at University of Michigan, spoke about Medical Acupuncture and the common conditions treated by acupuncture. This included Acute and chronic pain control, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues, women’s health, headaches, vertigo and respiratory relief. He talked about amazing benefits he sees in using acupuncture to help individuals move forward in their healing.
We also heard from Dr. Pamela Smith, noted author and director of the Center for Healthy Living and Longevity, Ann Arbor, who spoke of the importance of saliva testing and urine testing to accurately understand hormonal imbalances in women. She talked about the importance of balanced estrogen, progesterone, adrenaline, testosterone, DHEA and cortisol.
Drs. Amy Locke and Caroline King talked about Vitamin D Deficiency as a modern day epidemic. They sighted the many disorders thought to be related to Vitamin D deficiency including Osteoporosis, Cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Their take home message is that there is a high prevalence of Vitamin D Deficiency, it is easy to screen, there are a wide range of diseases which can be modified and supplementation is inexpensive and carries a low risk.
In addition to the above, we also heard speakers discuss Integrative Oncology, drug-nutrient interaction, cardio-metabolic risk syndrome, creating an herbal first aid kit and bringing energy healing within our grasp.
Integrative Medicine in Primary Care is gaining in importance and awareness. Patients are asking more questions about supplements and nutrition. Physicians are taking time to educate themselves and learn more about Integrative Medicine. This is a very exciting time for medicine in our state and in our country.