Below are topics that I've selected to help inform and educate others regarding common questions about integrative medicine and other related topics. If there is a topic that you would like to see addressed, please let me know by submitting the request through the form on the contact page.
The World Health Organization definition for "Health"
The World Health Organization defines "health" as “…a state of complete physical, social and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition takes an important philosophical position important to the concept of an integrative approach to ones health and well-being. The integration of body, mind, and spirit encompasses much more than what traditional "Western" medicine's physician-patient relationship is currently designed to service. This definition also points out that a person with no identifiable disease or syndrome, as defined by traditional Western medicine's list, can still be in an "unhealthy state" due to social or mental barriers in their life. Consequently, a person with a terminal disease with multiple active physical aliments can still find a state of mental and spiritual health and well-being.
In the early part of the 1900's, medical professionals and others started talking about "health" beyond the simple concept of being physically free of disease. A number of ways to describe health have been published in the scientific literature over the past hundred years so a very brief summary is all that is possible here.
Health Is Multidimensional: The idea that health is multidimensional simply means that we are more than just a state of disease or absence of disease. Our state of health and well-being is a combination of our physical, mental and social well-being. Richard Eberst discussed his view on this model in an article in the Journal of School Health written in 1984 and makes note of the previous 60 years of work n this topic. The point isn't whether there are four, five, or six particular dimensions, but that we are complex individuals with many things that affect our lives and sense of health and well-being.
Health Is Multi-determined: The idea that our health and well-being at any given moment is determined by many factors, including:spiritual belief ,s and practices, social support, relationships, peace, justice, the economy, income, the environment, policies, citizen participation in decision making.
Health Is Dynamic: The idea that our state of health and well-being shifts freely and frequently. A sense of well-being isn't something that is achieved but more of a state that is maintained. There are many things in life that can move us away from a sense of health and well-being. The goal is to identify those things and find a pathway to a new state of balance that is right for each us as an individual. We will often speak of "meeting the individual where they are" and an important part of that is "where you are" changes freely and frequently. Thus, the pathway toward balance today may need to adapt for tomorrows challenges.
Health Is Subjective: We are complex individuals and each person's experiences of health can differ widely, even when the "dimensions" appear to be similar. Often the goal of a scientific process is to put similar things into the same category and expect those categories to act the same. Life is much more complex and at the individual level, we are all unique. The process of an integrated approach to medicine reflect a commitment by your provider an integrated approach to "your" personal medicine decisions given your unique experiences, expectations, and options.
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is a study done every five years in which tens of thousands of Americans answer questions about their health. This survey includes a special section on complementary health approaches. The most recent data on complementary approaches were collected in 2012. The 2012 NHIS Highlights can be reviewed here: https://nccih.nih.gov/research/statistics/NHIS/2012/key-findings
In 2012, 33.2% of U.S. adults used complementary health approaches. This is similar to the percentages in 2007 (35.5%) and 2002 (32.3%)
11.6% of U.S. children age 4 to 17 used complementary health approaches in 2012. There was no meaningful change from 2007, when 12.0% used them
In 2012, as in 2007 and 2002, the most commonly used complementary approach was natural products (dietary supplements other than vitamins and minerals). 17.7% of adults and 4.9% of children age 4 to 17 used natural products
Pain—a condition for which people often use complementary health approaches—is common in U.S. adults. More than half had some pain during the 3 months before the survey
More Key Facts about Adults: Natural Products
Fish oil was the #1 natural product among adults, with 7.8% using it in 2012
Adults’ use of fish oil, probiotics or prebiotics, and melatonin increased between 2007 and 2012
Adults’ use of glucosamine/chondroitin, echinacea, and garlic decreased between 2007 and 2012
Mind and body approaches
The most commonly used by adults include yoga, chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation, meditation, and massage therapy.
The percentage of adults who practice yoga has increased substantially, from 5.1% in 2002 to 6.1% in 2007 and 9.5% in 2012.
This is an emerging medical view intended to improve patient well-being by improving lifestyle, capacity to function in a meaningful and effective way and reversing the impact of stress. Because stress, emotional and mental states may play an important role in your medical conditions, our practice can assist you in recognizing more successful approaches to lifestyle and healing with mind/body approaches such as meditation, breathing and other techniques.
Dr. Fuentes-Valdes has researched a number of mind-body-spirit approaches and uses them to help individuals overcome barriers that they face in achieving a personal state of health. Dr. Fuentes-Valdes has studied yoga, meditation, metaphysics and spirituality as ways of healing and received certifications in Ho’oponopono therapy, healing sound, Angel therapy and Reiki, in order to help individuals achieve a state of well-being.
Medical Acupuncture is acupuncture that has been successfully incorporated into medical health practices in Western countries. It is derived from Asian (mainly China, Japan and Korea) and European sources (mainly Germany), and is practiced in both pure and hybrid forms. Therapeutic insertion of small solid needles in various combinations and patterns is the foundation of medical acupuncture. Acupuncture is a safe whole-system health approach which is considered non-invasive. It promotes natural healing enhancing recuperative power and immunity while supporting physical and emotional health. The philosophy of acupuncture is rooted in improving the flow of qi (pronounced chee). In traditional Chinese medicine, qi is considered the life or vital energy that flows throughout the body. The adaptability of classical and hybrid acupuncture approaches in Western medical environments is the key to their clinical success and popular appeal.
Dr. Fuentes-Valdes trained at the Harvard medical school Structural Acupuncture Course for Physicians which focuses on the evaluation and treatment of patients using modern palpation-based Japanese acupuncture techniques. These techniques link classical Chinese theory to pragmatic diagnostic and treatment methods.
We encourage our patients to have an Integrative Internal Medicine consult first. Acupuncture can be provided as the complementary therapy within the therapeutic plan (added to the conventional standard therapy).
This is a controversial approach to healing that has a long traditional history across many cultures and for which there is some evidence can have a healing benefit. It is an approach that describes a process in which the practitioner channels life energy for healing benefit. It is intended to affect the balance and flow of energy in a manner that might be thought of as similar to acupuncture but without the needles. Dr. Fuentes-Valdes is a certified Reiki practitioner, a Japanese energy healing technique for stress reduction and promotion of healing.