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e spend a lot of time discussing why we’re recommending something so a patient can make a fully informed decision,” Ballard says. “We ask them to be more involved in their treatment options and they often need to make some lifestyle changes.”

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This shared decision-making process empowers patients to address factors that can be contributing to their suffering. Integrative medicine encourages patients to examine their diets, physical activity, stress levels and environment to determine what changes might improve their well-being. “We try to intervene and stop negative habits so they can embrace a lifestyle that’s much healthier,” Ballard says. “And once they develop a healthy lifestyle and feel better, patients can benefit throughout their lives.”

Home Care & Hospice

Another defining principle of integrative medicine is to focus on complete healing through blended care for the body, mind and spirit. Integrative medicine uses a variety of evidence-based healing traditions including acupuncture, dietary supplements, healing touch, nutritional management, physical therapy and wellness coaching.

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“We recognize that with any chronic illness, we have to address the emotional and spiritual health of our patients as well, because without that piece it is very difficult to help patients actually heal,” says Ballard. Ballard emphasizes that integrative medicine is not at odds with traditional medication. In fact, prescription medications can be combined with other treatment methods to form a whole healing program. Overall, the foundation of integrative medicine is not about eliminating options, but rather finding better tools to help patients get well. “What inspires me is to see someone be able to live their best life — free from a lot of these chronic diseases — when we help them get the right healing plan together,” Ballard says.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEW Integrated Medicine Clinic at Sanford Health in Fargo, visit sanfordhealth.org. [ aw ]

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