Wellness survey participants share their views

Respondents to the Mountain Xpress wellness survey weighed in on the following question:

“Do you think integrative care has advantages over either conventional or alternative treatment alone? If so, what do you see them as being?”

Here are some of their responses:

“I think integrative care is ideal when the unique strengths of both allopathic and alternative medicine are needed by the client. Allopathic can do a great job in areas such as emergency care, surgery and short-term physical-level issues. Alternative modalities are better-suited for long-term health maintenance and energetic issues, which allopathic thinking does not acknowledge, but which are usually the root cause of medical issues.” — Benjamin Bernstein, owner, Astro-shaman

“From our perspective, the true meaning of ‘integrative care’ is complete care that considers not only the body but also the mind — that takes care of one’s ‘consciousness’ and allows full inner development. The advantage over conventional care is that true integrative care addresses levels of stress and resolves behavioral patterns that lie at the basis of most health issues. I also think that the health care that is most useful is both preventive and science-based. ‘Preventive’ because it’s easier to prevent disease than to cure it. ‘Scientific’ because ‘alternative’ does not have to mean esoteric or unscientific. For example, the Transcendental Meditation technique has been validated by more than 350 peer-reviewed studies.” — Tom Ball, director, Asheville TM Center

“I come from the allopathic background, having been a general/vascular surgeon for 10 years prior to shifting into alternative care and wellness. This has given me the opportunity to not only see medicine from both worlds but also to merge the two into a comprehensive program. There is good and not so good at both ends of the spectrum; It’s nice to be able to take the best of both worlds and create a program that achieves a balance of the mind/body/spirit.” — Daniel Stickler, physician

“I believe that modern conventional medicine is very good at diagnosing physiological problems and detecting serious health concerns. It is also very good at saving lives in acute emergency response situations. It is not as good at preventing health problems and balancing the energetics of the body. Acupuncture is very effective at maintaining a healthy system so as to avoid long term health issues. Also many conventional treatments such as pharmaceuticals and surgeries have long-term negative side effects. Acupuncture can reduce the need for invasive procedures and medications and has no negative side effects. In fact, acupuncture often produces positive side effects. Acupuncture alone is also one of the most effective pain treatments. Integrating the diagnostics of conventional medicine with acupuncture as treatment is a very good way to get optimal health results.” — Aimee Schinasi, acupuncturist, People’s Acupuncture

“The body has adaptive physiology. I think we have the most advanced emergency medical services in the world. That said, our health care is nothing but sick care. We are getting sicker and sicker in this country, and the conventional medicine philosophy is not working. We have to get back to the basics, and that is diet, exercise, human frame,
mental/emotional health. Alternatives, which should not be called alternatives in the first place, are the key to getting sick people well. Pharmaceutical companies have their hand in every pot. With Obamacare they, big pharma, have ‘paid’ the legislature enough to own one-third of the votes in the overseeing committee. Look it up, and you will see.  Nothing will change until the people of this country are truly educated about true health and those basics. So no, integrative care is a ‘cop-out.’ It is just practicing ‘safe’ medicine with the same old results.” — Dr. Jason Phillips, chiropractor, Phillips Family Chiropractic

“We think there are benefits to an integrative approach because anything short of that is not addressing the needs of the entire being. In allopathic medicine the focus is on treating the symptom. When this is the approach, the symptom may resolve for a time, but the underlying cause is still present. A holistic approach allows us to uncover all layers of the issue and formulate the best approach to alleviate that issue as well as any other that may be associated with it.” — Dr. Mikra Hamilton, Synchronicity Wellness

“The entire experience of human life could be seen as a learning process of how to integrate our mind, body and spirit to work together toward a common goal of healthy living. To be effective in the long term, any therapy must integrate and harmonize these dimensions of our being. Care should be taken to focus on this total picture, as any treatment that diminishes or ‘disintegrates’ these aspects of our being will cause harm in the long term.” — Dr. Daniel Johnson, psychiatrist, private practice

“I often compare the education at Rainbow Community School to integrative medicine at a place such as Family to Family. Our teachers almost all have master’s degrees in conventional education (just as the doctors at Family to Family have MDs), but they ALSO use integrative holistic teaching methods that help develop the child physically, spiritually, socially, emotionally, etc. Therefore, they can draw on the best of both worlds and care for each child according to his/her needs. For example, if a child is struggling in math, a teacher only using conventional methods may only look at academics, but the real problem may be anxiety. Furthermore, using an integrative approach isn’t just about problem solving; it prevents problems because children enjoy learning and are fulfilled students when their school develops them holistically.” — Renee Owen, executive director, Rainbow Community School

“We believe all medicine works. It is the patient’s thoughts or beliefs about the care being given that ultimately determine the results. For example, if the patient believes surgery is necessary and it will heal them, it will. Alternatively if a person  had a skilled practitioner treat them purely on the mental plane (aka affirmative prayer), it will also heal the patient. I have a unique viewpoint as I work in both traditional medicine at Mission as a medical scientist and have a large following of private clients who come to me for healing and mainly manifestation.” — Lynn Villa, spiritual coach, Centers for Spiritual Living

“I think that caring, skillful collaboration between different fields in healing and medicine is the direction that can most help people create well-being in their lives and their families. We need conventional medicine, Western science and medical innovations, and we also need to draw on other perspectives in healing and living that help a person find happiness and wholeness in his or her life.” — Autumn Woodward, massage therapist

“Integrative care is the most effective way to heal. I refer people to Western medicine for diagnostics, when necessary, if there are roots of the imbalance that I cannot see. Then develop an individualized treatment plan according to traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis. Our diagnostic tools allow us to see the imbalances at the root level of why the body/mind/ or spirit is out of balance. You cannot treat one without treating the other parts. In Chinese medicine, if there is one negative side effect to any treatment, the treatment MUST be adjusted. We do not sacrifice one system to ‘heal’ another system. My ideal would be to see the strengths of all medicines being utilized to create the most effective, efficient healing for every individual.” — Whitney Madden, acupuncturist, Source for Well-Being

“Integrative care can offer the best of both worlds. There is a time and place for both conventional and alternative treatments. For example, we offer physical therapy and chiropractic in our office. I can focus on the structural integrity of the spine, and the physical therapist can strengthen the muscles to support the healthier frame. Both forms of health care can be combined to get better results for the patient. We need to move forward in health care and offer services to the patients that will benefit them the most. Adhering to Western medicine practice alone is leaving the patient in the dark.” — Dr. Nichole D’Ippolito Lindsey, chiropractor, Back in Balance

“I think that both medicines [integrative and mind-body] have their place. But I also know that healing comes from within.” — Gloria Maria LanSer, childbirth educator and doula, Sacred Soul Birthing Doula Services

“You manage to connect with all aspects that can contribute to the symptoms. Many physical issues begin with emotions or mental aspects which are not resolved and dealt with. And to uncover the real cause of a physical problem, you must connect with the emotions and help the individual find answers and solutions through those channels. They also look into nutritional deficiency and help you to find the deficiency in the body. [They also look at] vitamins, minerals and other information not discovered in traditional medicine and can lead the individual to living a healthier lifestyle, which can make a profound difference in the health of the body.” — Linda Neff, reflexologist and reiki master, Mountain Spirit Wellness

“I believe that alternative treatments should be the foundation of health, but sometimes conventional methods can enhance results. Some conditions do need conventional treatment, so these should not be completely overlooked.” — Christy Thompson, holistic wellness coach, Holistic Transformations

“By definition, integrative care should be well-acquainted with all varieties of care — not simply be conventional care that sprinkles in a touch of the obvious (well-documented) benefits of addressing emotions and mental state to treat physical ailments. True integrative care would, in my mind, probably look more like an alternative approach that includes multiple modalities, with recognition of the occasional benefits provided by conventional care. Integrative care is comprehensive care that has access to Western treatments… but doesn’t use them much, since a holistic/alternative approach tends to be preventive whereas conventional care is emergency care, treating symptoms.” — Michele Drivon, teacher of Alexander Technique, Conscious Alignment

“Integrative care looks as the individual as a whole, assessing diet as well as the emotional and spiritual life. I think all of these aspects are vital to address in any health issue.” — Asia Suler, administrator, Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine

“Different modalities can enhance the effect of each other, i.e., combining acupuncture and massage is superior in treating pain vs. one or the other alone. This is the most common combination we see here at the center. Mitigating the negative side effects of certain treatments with others, i.e., acupuncture for nausea from chemotherapy. And more and more doctors are recommending their patient to us for this!  Offering alternatives when all conventional options have been exhausted, i.e., acupuncture for chronic pain that has not responded to muscle relaxers, cortisone, or epidurals. This is especially beneficial in cases like this in which the alternative treatment is also more successful and has a much shorter recovery time if any.” — Nancy Hyton, director, Center for Holistic Medicine



Thanks for reading through to the end…

We share your inclination to get the whole story. For the past 25 years, Xpress has been committed to in-depth, balanced reporting about the greater Asheville area. We want everyone to have access to our stories. That’s a big part of why we've never charged for the paper or put up a paywall.

We’re pretty sure that you know journalism faces big challenges these days. Advertising no longer pays the whole cost. Media outlets around the country are asking their readers to chip in. Xpress needs help, too. We hope you’ll consider signing up to be a member of Xpress. For as little as $5 a month — the cost of a craft beer or kombucha — you can help keep local journalism strong. It only takes a moment.

About Susan Foster
Freelance writer passionate about wellness and spirituality, clinical psychologist, avid hiker and reader. Follow me @susanjfosterphd

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.