Have you ever wanted a knowledgeable, trustworthy GP who shares your desire to have your health treated holistically? Did you know that was even an option? Maybe you did. Perhaps you have noticed the options you have to address your health are evolving. The words ‘integrative’ and ‘holistic’ are used frequently these days, but what do they mean, especially when describing a GP? To help you understand how a GP can have an integrative approach, here are the answers to a few questions you may have floating around your head!
What is integrative medicine?
Let's break it down. Medicine is not just a science, but it is also an art. Medical knowledge comprises the science. It is the skilful application of this knowledge to you, a unique individual, that is the art of medicine. Integrative medicine draws from both Western medicine and natural, complementary medicine. It marries the two to provide complete and holistic care, tailored specifically to you.
What is an integrative GP?
An integrative GP is a fully qualified general practitioner with additional expertise in areas including nutritional and environmental medicine, herbal medicine and mind-body medicine. The integrative GP is also supportive of various complementary therapies. We appreciate that these alternate forms of healing can be incorporated into a holistic model of care to support you in your journey to full health. Basically, you get the best of both worlds.
Dr. Fi and Dr. Elsa are integrative GPs… what is their philosophy?
We believe that the body instinctively wants to function the way nature intended it to - in balance and in harmony with itself and the world around it. When your body is out balance in some way, that is when illness occurs. Our aim is to pinpoint and address these imbalances, to return your body to its natural state of balance and thus health.
The Illness-Wellness Continuum:
There are degrees of wellness, just like there are degrees of illness. Wellness is not merely the absence of illness, and is a dynamic and continuous state. Another way to put it is that health is not black and white; rather we understand there are shades of grey in between. With this understanding, integrative GP’s are different in that we treat beyond a point of black and white, even if there is no medically recognisable “disease” present - we address the shades of grey. For example, you may complain of tiredness, but in the absence of an obvious disease, you are seen as “well” by your doctor and sent on your way. Yet you are still tired. Integrative GP’s recognise that you are indeed not “well”. We seek to help you achieve wellness by digging deeper into what might really be going on.
What can an integrative GP offer me?
If you are seeking a comprehensive and holistic analysis of your health from a caring, accepting and non-judgmental doctor, as well as a thorough, holistic explanation of your symptoms, then you will benefit from seeing an integrative GP. We aim to help you achieve optimal wellness by seeking to understand and address the root cause, or causes, of ill health. Effectively addressing the root cause of illness is crucial to sustained healing and full recovery. Close attention is always given to nutrition, exercise, sleep and your psychological, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
What can I expect from seeing an integrative GP?
Unlike a standard 10-15 minute GP consultation, you can expect your first consultation to run for typically one hour. This allows a holistic assessment of your health including your symptoms, lifestyle and current health status. Additionally your integrative GP will discuss with you some likely causative factors leading to health concerns as well as what can be done about them. You may be referred for testing and investigations, which may include functional testing (for example, cell function, hormonal analysis or gut integrity and flora) to help us understand your unique situation and treat your most effectively. Your personalised, holistic management plan will then be developed, with a large focus on diet, exercise, sleep and stress. It may also include the prescription of medication, nutrients and herbs. It is important for you to realise that at all times, you are in control and remain central to your care – we are here to serve you.
My health issues are complex, will an integrative GP be able to help me?
You may feel like you have a very complex situation, with complex medical histories and multiple existing conditions. Luckily for you, we are very familiar with seeing these types of people. You may also have multiple symptoms, conditions and diseases that seem unrelated and have been seeing multiple specialists, who care for those individual body systems. One of our strengths of an integrative GP is our unique perspective – we tend to step back to look at your overall picture in a truly holistic manner. It is often the case that seemingly unrelated symptoms, conditions or diseases within you may actually be linked with a common cause.
We recognise that the true champion in your wellness journey is you. Contact us today, and get the support you deserve.
Dr Elsa Gladigau
MBBS (HONS) BMedSci (HONS) DCH FRACGP