Talk Highlights Potential of Integrative Medicine
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Sunday, January 27, 2013 15:01
Amid the annual winter rush to get flu shots, some students are promoting other forms of medicine and health.
Marya Pulaski (COL ’13) was one of several Georgetown students to join the Georgetown University Medical School and the George Washington Center for Integrative Medicine in celebrating International Integrative Medicine Day — a day devoted to healthy practices and awareness of alternative treatment options.
The two schools partnered to sponsor an open house at the Center of Integrative Medicine, a talk about neuropathy at Whole Foods Market and a panel presentation about medical yoga last Wednesday.
Although the international celebration is only five years old, this year’s celebrations occurred in more than 50 integrative medicine centers in the United States alone.
“Integrative medicine is becoming increasingly mainstreamed, no longer seen as alternative but rather adjunctive,” Pulaski, leader of Georgetown’s celebration, said. “Many tend to misinterpret integrative medicine as upper-class or earthy crunchy with its acupuncture and Reiki, when in fact these methods have been scientifically proven to be highly effective and positive for a wide range of medical conditions.”
Mikhail Kogan, medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine and assistant professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine, added that integrative medicine focuses on optimizing health.
“In contrast to the primary care model where disease prevention and treatment is the focus, integrative medicine thinks first and foremost about how to optimize health,” Kogan said. “The belief is that by doing that you will … [not only] treat the condition itself but also support health at the same time”.
The Center for Integrative Medicine’s panel presentation consisted of experts from a variety of fields and specifically highlighted medical and therapeutic yoga. It stressed the need for evidence-based research, better training for yoga professionals and making yoga more of a holistic model of therapy, care and lifestyle.
“For people suffering from [post-traumatic stress disorder], substance abuse and recovery and chronic pain, yoga can help retrain and reunite the mind and body.”
Linda Lang, director of therapeutic yoga and yogic programming at the Center for Integrative Medicine, spearheaded the event and said that she hoped to inform people about not only the benefits of integrative medicine but also about the integrative medicine community in D.C.
“In an integrative setting, our medical professionals draw from each other’s experiences to find answers to difficult questions,” Lang said. “The audience was totally amazed by the breadth of work being done, by the use of yoga as a therapeutic partner in medicine [and] in scientific research and its impact on under-served communities.”
Although pleased with the success of Integrative Medicine Day so far throughout D.C., those at the Center for Integrative Medicine and its peer institutions nationwide have plans for continued growth.
“I really think that integrative medicine is the future of primary care,” Kogan said. “I really hope that eventually we will have not one day, but a week to celebrate it.”