Englewood Health Physician Explains Integrative Medicine: Dr. Tracy Scheller is medical director of the Graf Center for Integrative Medicine at Englewood Health. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and has been an attending physician at Englewood Health for close to two decades. In this “Ask the Doctor” Q&A feature, Dr. Scheller explains what you should know about integrative medicine.
Being healthy means more than just being disease free. Our health comprises our physical, psychological, emotional, and social lives. Just as we eat healthfully and exercise to support our bodies, it is important to develop habits that support the other pillars of health, as well. We need to find ways to manage stress, maintain social connections, live mindfully, and deal with emotional issues in the best way possible. This is where integrative medicine comes in.
What is integrative medicine?
Dr. Scheller: Integrative medicine refers to the use of conventional and complementary therapies together in a coordinated and evidence-based way, to facilitate the healing process. In integrative medicine, we consider the patient as a whole person and develop a plan for healing that addresses all aspects of health.
What is the difference between alternative medicine and integrative medicine?
Dr. Scheller: Alternative medicine refers to a non-mainstream approach that is used instead of conventional medicine. What we’re doing at the Graf Center for Integrative Medicine at Englewood Health is better described as complementary medicine: We use non-mainstream therapies together with conventional medicine, and all our treatments are supported by research and evidence.
Who might be a good candidate for integrative medicine?
Dr. Scheller: Anyone! You don’t have to have a disease or diagnosis to explore integrative medicine. This is the right move for those who want to take control of their health, make good lifestyle changes, and boost their overall wellness.
A central concept of integrative medicine is that the patient and practitioner operate as partners in the healing process. Why is this kind of relationship important?
Dr. Scheller: This kind of relationship gives patients the sense that they are part of the team. It is important because people need to take an active role in their own health and wellness. When you think about health, it’s a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being—not just the absence of disease. We want people to take part in changing their nutrition, lifestyle habits, and stress levels.
The Graf Center for Integrative Medicine recently showcased several of its services at Mind, Body, & Sole: Women’s Health and Fitness Social Night, co-sponsored by Englewood Health and the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades. Community members were able to try acupuncture, meditation, and aromatherapy, learn about nutrition, and speak one-on-one with Dr. Tracey Scheller, the Center’s medical director. Watch the video below to learn more.