Integrative medicine: Different techniques, one goal

Discover how integrative medicine combines mainstream and alternative practices to improve health.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

More than 30% of Americans adults report using health care approaches not typically associated with conventional medicine, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Doctors are also embracing evidence-based alternative therapies, often combining them with mainstream therapies to treat disease and maintain health — an approach called integrative (in-tuh-GRAY-tiv) medicine.

What are some examples of integrative approaches?

Exactly what’s considered integrative medicine changes constantly as treatments are studied and move into everyday practice. To make sense of the many nonconventional therapies available, it helps to look at how they’re classified by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH):

  • Natural products
  • Mind and body practices
  • Other integrative approaches

Natural products

Dietary supplements and herbal remedies are considered natural products because they contain ingredients found in nature.