The National Institutes of Health (NIH) started with 4 primary domains of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) in the late 1990s. These 4 domains (Energy, Mind-Body, Mechanics and Biology) were placed around a central health system of allopathy, or western medicine.
Within Integrate Columbus, we work within an expanded 6-Domain model, drawing attention to the importance of knowledge and awareness. Integrative Medicine, most simply, is a conscious effort toward distributing wellness efforts/resource in a balanced way across these six domains: Knowledge, Beliefs, Biology, Mechanics, Mind-Body and Energy.
People often ‘cluster’ care into a few select domains while nearly or completely neglecting others. Working within this 6-domain model allows for the balancing of resources (time, finances, energy, etc.) while still providing comprehensive support and an honest framework for addressing concerns and goals in an integrated, sustainable way.
How much do you know about your health?
Do you get regular physicals, eye exams and dental exams? Do you understand any diagnoses you may have? Do you understand the medications and supplements you take – why are you taking them? and generally what are they doing in your body? Do you have easy access to your medical records and images and understand what’s in them?
This domain is about taking the central position in your health care and assuming responsibility for your wellbeing. If you cannot directly assume responsibility, then it means finding a patient advocate and creating a flawless support network around you.
Actions related to this domain can include getting regular health screenings, asking questions of health care providers, reading, learning, seeking support and using effective methods for organizing your health records.
What do you believe in?
What are your beliefs around where life comes from? What are your core beliefs and how do these translate into your health, spirituality, finances, emotions and relationships?
What we believe and our connection to our beliefs has a tremendous impact on our health and treatment outcomes. First you have to know what you believe in. Then you can find tools you resonate with to sit in an ever-growing space with their beliefs, faith and paradigms. Spirituality is one aspect of beliefs.
There are various health systems around the world – Allopathy (Western Medicine), Osteopathy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, etc. They all have very different core beliefs about the origins of health and disease. Western medicine is the primary medical system we operate within and our insurance payment systems are organized around it. Western medicine is a health philosophy based upon a symptom-response method for assessment, treatment (and payment).
What are you doing that directly impacts your biological functioning?
This domain includes our diet choices, supplementation, pharmaceuticals, environmental factors, sleep and exercise.
Is your human form mechanically sound, adaptable and of structural integrity?
This domain includes therapies that work directly with structural body mechanics to influence change. Posture, neuromuscular activation, musculoskeletal balance, fascial integrity and structure-function efficiency are the primary focus of these therapies. This domain is working tangibly with bones, muscles, fasciae and neuromuscular relationships.
Mind / Body
How can you bridge the space between your mental and physical experiences?
These somatic techniques train the body to inspire the mind and teach the mind to positively shape the body. The term ‘somatic’ means ‘experiencing the body from within.’ Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. Our bodies can become tools for working with our mental state and our mental patterns can become vehicles of change for our physical bodies.
Are you aware of and attending to the energy fields in and around your body (biofields)?
These modalities encompass the use of external energy sources – electromagnetic fields, vibration, sound, frequency, thermography, etc. – to influence health and healing. Therapies in this domain work with energetic fields using aspects of vibration, electromagnetism, light, heat, auras, chakras, meridians, intuition and discernment.
Applying the Integrative Model to Your Life
So … how can you apply this to yourself? Which domains do you tend to most naturally? Are you over-attending to some domains and avoiding others? Do you need help putting your team together? Health is a community endeavor. It was meant to take a village. There is a village to support you no matter where you are or what you are going through.