More patients and health-conscious individuals are seeking out integrative health practices. As the movement continues to flourish and grow, we’re learning more about what integrative health is and what it includes (and doesn’t). Does CBD play a role of any kind as a part of integrative health? Let’s find out.
What is Integrative Health?
Integrative health encompasses all Western medicine practices. This philosophy of approaching medicine considers both physical and mental health, alongside more traditional and ancient therapeutic methods. Integrative health focuses on treating the whole person, as opposed to treating one issue. Equally, this approach to health considers diagnosing “root causes” rather than trying to mask symptoms.
Western medicine can include therapies like:
- Massage Therapy
- Mindfulness Techniques
- Diet Changes
Common Concepts & Practices
This approach to health focuses on a holistic view of a person. In addition to taking their medical history into account, environment, spirituality, mental and emotional health are also taken into consideration by practitioners.
Many think that, because of this broad scope, that integrative health isn’t data-driven. This is not the case. Rather, integrative professions focus on approaching illness from many angles using many types of care.
For example, a patient may make an appointment at an integrative health center. To the staff, they report neck soreness, which is impacting work, their sleep, and their comfort.
The integrative professionals will approach this issue in a variety of ways.
For example, acupuncture sessions may be recommended to alleviate neck pain and stimulate new tissue growth. A series of vitamins, which reduce inflammation, may be recommended as well. Additionally, the patient may work with a PT on a series of stretches and light workouts to repair and strengthen the neck and upper back. Meditation may also be recommended to reestablish healthy sleep patterns.
As you can see, a professional in this space wouldn’t say, “take this, you’ll feel better” and send the patient on their way. Instead, integrative professionals act to not only address the issues but the accompanying problems as well, providing the patient with tangible tools.
CBD and Integrative Health
The approach of integrative health is broad. Because it focuses on all needs of the patient, is there room for CBD in this realm?
This is an interesting question to consider, especially when discussing the endocannabinoid system. This body system, made up of CB1 and CB2 receptors, is located in the brain, central nervous system, and throughout the digestive and muscular systems. Scientists consider the endocannabinoid system to be a regulatory system, focused on balancing other body systems. When your endocannabinoid system isn’t in balance, it can lead to a variety of issues throughout the body.
In many states, recreational and medical cannabis is now legal, along with CBD products. As a way to broadly and holistically impact health, can CBD is considered a part of this health sphere?
The answer: it’s complicated.
Many medical professions now openly recognize the researched benefits of cannabis and hemp-derived products. That being said, more research is necessary to understand the efficacy and medical applications of CBD products. As a community, it’s our duty to continue digging for information, demanding further research, and educating ourselves about how CBD may play a role in overall integrative health.