We are specialists in alternative/complementary medicine.
We offer the following medical services:
Our team of providers and doctors in St. Louis Park offer a wide range of treatments and work in partnership to build strong, trusting relationships with our patients who come from surrounding areas including Minneapolis, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Richfield and Bloomington. And because of our integrative approach to medicine, Life Medical patients get the benefit of customized treatment plans that include conventional and complementary therapies. Together we help patients access and understand the best care options for their overall health.
What is integrative medicine?People define integrative medicine in many different ways and there are many misconceptions about the term. Here is some information regarding integrative medicine as it pertains to our practice at Life Medical.
This is what integrative medicine is NOT: Integrative medicine does not involve a group of people sitting in a circle meditating around a collection of aromatic candles. Nor does it involve a myriad of impressive sounding but useless medical tests. It also does not involve trying random therapies in the hopes of making the patient feel better for just a few hours.
This is the simple definition of integrative medicine at Life Medical: The definition of the word integration is “to bring together or incorporate parts into a whole”. Logically then it follows that integrative medicine is the type of medical practice where multiple modalities are used together to achieve the best results possible for each individual patient.
This is how we practice integrative medicine: We feel that the key to successfully treating patients is to practice integrative medicine. At Life Medical we bring together all types of medical experts for the benefit of our patients. Our practice combines both “conventional” and “alternative” practitioners together in a cooperative team approach. Because of this, our patients are treated with the safest and most effective evidence-based modalities available, with treatments appropriate for their specific conditions. This could include conventional medicine, herbs, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, homeopathy or one of many other effective modalities. Often the most effective ways to treat patients utilizes a combination of modalities.
Our mission: At Life Medical we have made it our mission to learn and explore a wide variety of modalities, which requires a great deal of effort and humility on the part of all of our doctors. Continuous learning and cooperation between different practitioners is the essence of real integrative medicine. We believe that we are the only medical clinic in the area that offers such a wide range of medical modalities within a group of practitioners that work cooperatively together.
The history/origin of integrative medicine in the United States: Back in the early 1900’s Mayo Clinic initiated the ingenious concept of integrative medicine. The Mayo brothers brought together many different specialists and taught them to work together. Their concept allowed doctors who had previously been afraid to lose income by referring patients to other doctors, to work together in a collaborative manner. The physicians learned from each other, referred to each other and were able to treat their patients much more efficiently and effectively. This was a huge step forward for medicine and is one of the keys to the Mayo Clinic’s continued success.
Conventional vs. alternative medicine. We define conventional medicine as the group of medical modalities approved of by the “powers that be”. These modalities usually get better coverage by healthcare plans. Other modalities are typically referred to as “alternative” or “complementary”. This distinction is rather arbitrary and is a subject to change. For example, acupuncture used to be very alternative, but is now being widely accepted by the conventional establishment and covered by many healthcare plans. The same change happened years ago in regards to chiropractic care.
In today’s medical word, conventional medicine has been very successful in treating certain conditions. However, it has many limitations. For instance, chronic diseases are often not well-managed using conventional methods. Oftentimes drugs are over-prescribed and offer only temporary symptomatic relief. Many experts say that surgery is overused, and the desire for physicians to enrich themselves through surgery is often called into question. Expensive tests are often over-ordered without clearly identified reasons. Patients are frustrated with these issues and confused when their conventional doctors assure them that they always know what is best for them.
Because of the challenges they face using conventional medicine, more and more patients are looking for treatment with alternative modalities. Many patients are frustrated with what they feel is ineffective and industrialized conventional medicine and are looking for something “alternative” that combines gentle techniques with more personal time with a practitioner. Many patients say that they feel their health is improved simply because of the additional caring, personal attention that they receive from alternative medicine providers.
While this emphasis on more personal interaction and the increased amount of time the alternative practitioners spend with their patients are very beneficial in themselves, the main reason for this difference in approach is to allow the practitioner to understand the patient better. The more time the practitioner spends with the patient the more likely they are to choose the most effective treatment modality for their situation. In the long run the choice of treatment modalities and their expert application are what make the biggest difference.
Integrative approach: Practitioners working with the most effective singular modalities can be true experts; many have dedicated their life to the art of healing. But devoting themselves to only one modality can be a strength as well as a serious weakness. If the practitioner’s focus is too narrow they can be unaware of other effective modalities which could be beneficial for their patients. Many of these singular specialists don’t know what other experts offer, don’t refer to each other, and therefore limit their patients’ potential to improve.
At Life Medical we emphasize the integrative approach, i.e. all practitioners must learn what the others do and utilize the combined expertise. By doing this, we are extending the Mayo brothers’ integrative paradigm to include not just the currently “conventional” modalities, but also the ones that are still considered “alternative”.