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How do I Become an Integrative Medicine Specialist?

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  • Written By: Donn Saylor
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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To become an integrative medicine specialist, you need to possess an active interest in conventional and alternative medicine; education and experience in both fields; and the energy and drive to establish your medical career, either with a hospital or clinic or in your own practice. Integrative medicine specialists marry aspects of both traditional and complimentary medicine to present fuller, more varied treatment options for their patients. They utilize a combination of skill, instinct, training, and experience to best provide for those in their case. While specific degrees in integrative medicine are rare, a combination of various types of education can give you the necessary requirements to become an integrative medicine specialist.

The basis for a career in integrative medicine treatment involves your own personal passion for and interest in all forms of medicine. You can't limit yourself to one kind of medicine as integrative doctors and specialists draw on their interests in both traditional Western medicine and holistic medicine. It is this combination of conventional healing and alternative therapy that forms the principles of integrative medicine treatments, which seeks to heal the body, mind, and spirit and identify the roots of illness from a "whole body" perspective. First and foremost, you need to possess this understanding and cultivate your own interest in integrative medicine.

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You will need to have a thorough and, in most cases, extensive education in both conventional and alternative medicine in order to become an integrative medicine specialist. Many who work in this field are board-certified medical doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, surgeons, or other types of traditional medical specialists. Traditional medicine will give you the Western perspective on diagnosing, treating, and healing that is imperative to any conventional medical practice.

Just as important as traditional medical education is to become an integrative medicine specialist, so too is a detailed education in more alternative treatment modalities. These could include any number of treatments deemed "non-conventional" by the Western medical establishment. An integrative doctor or specialist may employ energy healing; chakra balancing; nutritional therapy; and the prescribing of vitamins, supplements, and herbal treatments.

After you have attained a well-rounded education in both aspects of medicine, you can put the steps in place to become an integrative medicine specialist with your own client base. You may choose to work in a hospital or other medical setting, though many integrative medicine specialists eventually start their own practices. You will need to attract patients, offer top-notch service, and demonstrate your very diverse expertise in the medical arena.

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