What Are Integrative Health & Integrative Care Services

Eliana's Light is supporting integrative health for children with complex medical conditions and their caregivers through the provision of integrative care services.  Eliana's Light refers to the following definition of "integrative health":

Integrative health is a state of well-being that reflects aspects of the individual, community, and population. It is affected by 1) individual biological factors and behaviors, social values, and public policy, 2) the physical, social, and economic environment, and 3) an integrative healthcare system that involves the active participation of the individual in the healthcare team in applying a broad spectrum of preventative and therapeutic approaches. Integrative health encourages individuals, social groups, and communities to develop ways of living that promote meaning, resilience and well-being across the life course.
— The Institute for Integrative Health and the University of Maryland's Center for Integrative Medicine (2017)

By "integrative care services", we are referring to 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, and other types of support that a particular individual or community needs as part of taking 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.

When a child is in-patient within a medical facility and receives integrative care services, the literature within this field often refers to the hospital as having an "Integrative Medicine" program and the patient receiving "Integrative Medicine". As Eliana's Light is supporting greater access to a range of safe and appropriate integrative care services for children and their caregivers within the hospital setting, within the community, and at families' homes, we are using the term "integrative care services". This term encompasses the specific type of healing approaches we are supporting as part of our broader support of integrative health for children with complex medical conditions and their caregivers.

We advise that caregivers collaborate closely and communicate often with their child(ren)’s doctor(s) in order for an appropriate and continuous integrative care services 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 integrative and complementary care specialists as necessary to develop a care plan that boosts the caregiver’s strength, immune system, and well-being. Integrative and complementary care specialists should be licensed and certified as appropriate within 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