Yoga and integrative medicine
Holistic medicine, alternative medicine, complementary health…What these fields encompass has shifted over time along with the terms used to describe them. Today, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) favor “complementary and integrative health,” which suggests a viewpoint both optimistic and pragmatic. NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) supports research into modalities like yoga, paving the way for broader access in healthcare programs.
True integrative health includes all available valid approaches and incorporates not only preventive medicine, but also lifestyle interventions like yoga therapy. As Margaret Chesney, PhD, puts it,
“The field of integrative medicine reaffirms the importance of the relationship between each practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all therapeutic and lifestyle approaches, healthcare professionals, and disciplines to achieve optimal health and healing.”
Dr. Chesney, a professor at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, has been supporting policy in integrative health, of which yoga therapy is a part, for more than a decade; she has also served as deputy director of NCCIH. Watch her keynote from the International Association of Yoga Therapist’s 2017 Symposium on Yoga Research, in which she expands on the growing interest in and public demand for integrative health services.