What Is The Difference Between Complementary Care & Integrative Medicine?

Eliana's Light is supporting both for children with complex medical conditions and also their caregivers. We are talking about approaches, techniques, tools, and therapies that have been shown to reduce stress, pain, fear, trauma, anxiety, and/or depression in both children and adults. Examples include acupuncture; aromatherapy; essential oils; Healing Touch; massage; meditation; Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR); music, art, and play therapy; Reiki, and other related healing modalities. They may also include mental health support, marriage counseling, or another type of support that a particular individual or community needs as part of a holistic approach to achieving wellness and well-being. Complementary care approaches, techniques, tools, and therapies can be used alongside necessary medications and medical procedures.

Complementary Medicine is a non-mainstream practice used together with conventional medicine. Integrative Medicine is when complementary and conventional approaches are brought together in a coordinated way.
— National Center for complementary and integrative health (NCCIH) of the National Institutes of Health

When we refer to care a child receives as an in-patient within a medical facility, we are referring to "Integrative Medicine". When we are referring to care a child and his/her caregiver(s) receive when they are at their home and/or at a community-based organization, we are referring to "complementary care". We advise that caregivers collaborate closely and communicate often with their child(ren)’s doctor(s) in order for an appropriate and continuous complementary care program to be designed for the child. We recommend the adult caregiver also discuss the caregiver’s health and well-being with her/his own doctor; and seek complementary care specialists as necessary to develop a care plan that boosts the caregiver’s strength, immune system, and well-being. Complementary care specialists should be licensed and certified as appropriate with their professions.

We invite you to:

- browse through our Resources Page for more information on these topics

- read an article on how Integrative Medicine is helpful as part of Palliative Care by Dr. David Steinhorn, Medical Director of Palliative Care at Children's National Medical Center, and colleagues. "This article attempts to address ways in which complementary or Integrative Medicine can support the human spirit, contribute to healing, and alleviate suffering."

Integrative care is personalized, participatory, relationship-based care, promoting optimal health. It emphasizes healing of the whole person to achieve each individual’s unique physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social health goals. The primary therapies used to achieve these goals are healthy habits (nutrition, activity, sleep, mindful self-care, and fellowship) in a healthy habitat (social, natural and built environment). Integrative health care skillfully uses the best of both conventional and complementary strategies to attain patients’ health goals.
— Mind-Body STREAM with The Ohio State University's College of Medicine