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Cedars-Sinai Magazine

Mind, Body, Spirit Medicine - A Holistic Approach to Optimal Health

Holistic medicine

When are you the happiest? Is anything stressful going on in your life? Are you sleeping well?

Doctors in the growing field of integrative medicine prioritize these types of questions to better understand their patients’ unique circumstances and how lifestyle factors may affect their health. Integrative medicine is a hybrid specialty that introduces holistic, natural, less invasive approaches into conventional, Western methods of care.

The Cedars-Sinai Integrative Health Program is research-driven, using treatments and techniques backed by scientific evidence. The program also provides access to Cedars-Sinai’s more than 2,000 physicians and its vast network of specialized facilities.

Goals and Tools

“Integrative medicine brings together the best of both worlds. Our goal is to complement—not replace—conventional care. In fact, we work closely with patients’ other doctors, especially Cedars-Sinai specialists and primary care providers, since we share the same medical records,” explains Stephen Meeneghan, ND, LAc, a board-certified naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist with the Cedars-Sinai Integrative Health Program. “Integrative medicine just gives us more tools to help patients achieve optimal health.”

Some of those tools already may be part of your life. For example, are you among the 14 million Americans who have been treated with acupuncture? Or are you one of the 170 million U.S. adults who take dietary supplements (e.g., vitamins, minerals or herbs)? Both of these therapies are used in integrative medicine. The Integrative Health Program’s team has worked extensively with supplement companies and not only knows which brands are best but also can offer most products at a discount.

Other integrative medicine treatments include biofeedback, clinical nutrition and lifestyle counseling.

While the field mirrors conventional medicine in many ways—such as a shared commitment to safe, scientifically supported treatments—integrative medicine has its own unique approach to care.

“One of integrative medicine’s core principles is a focus on lifestyle and prevention, and how an optimal lifestyle can prevent some illnesses and diseases,” says Janet White, MD, medical director of Cedars-Sinai’s Integrative Health Program. Her team includes a registered dietitian/nutritionist and a clinical pharmacist.

“Another core principle of integrative medicine is that patient-centered care is customized to meet each individual’s unique circumstances and needs,” White says. “We also take a whole-person approach that looks at all of the factors affecting health—not just the physical, but also social, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing.”

When you see me...

“I’ll make it a point to address every aspect of your health, not just the physical. I look at the whole picture, and that includes your mental and emotional health and your spiritual wellbeing. Our overarching goal is to maximize wellness and do all we can to prevent illness and disease.”

Janet White, MD
Medical Director,
Cedars-Sinai Integrative Health Program

“We’ll explore your relationship with food to see if you have any dietary habits to adjust. If you do, we’ll try to figure out the underlying cause. The next step is creating a plan that’s customized to your personal situation with the goal of reinforcing good habits, and preventing or treating chronic disease with diet and nutrition.”

Nechama Rosen, RDN
Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist,
Cedars-Sinai Integrative Health Program

“We’ll review all of your prescription and over-the-counter medications as well as your vitamins, herbs and other supplements. I have a lot of experience with supplements, so I can answer any questions about what you’re currently taking or about those you’ve considered taking. I also will carefully assess the potential for harmful interactions between your medications and supplements, and ensure you’re using everything correctly.”

Pam Tarlow, PharmD
Clinical Pharmacist,
Cedars-Sinai Integrative Health Program

“We’ll talk about lifestyle factors—your diet and exercise habits and how you deal with stress—and how they may be connected to a health problem you’re having. I’m not going to just treat your symptoms; I want to determine the underlying cause and treat that. Then we can develop a personalized strategy to optimize your health over the course of your entire life.”

Stephen Meeneghan, ND, LAc
Naturopathic Doctor and Acupuncturist,
Cedars-Sinai Integrative Health Program

Is Integrative Medicine Right for You?

While virtually everyone could benefit from integrative medicine’s focus on prevention and achieving optimal health, common conditions that respond well to this approach include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Headaches
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Nausea
  • Sleep disorders
  • Stress
  • Stroke