Defining Integrative Health Care and When To Seek It

By Colorado Integrative Neurology

Now more than ever, the health care industry is full of choices, but these choices don’t have to be overwhelming and confusing. In this day and age, the first step is understanding the differences between each type of practitioner.

What are the different kinds of health care?

If you’ve tried to research holistic or integrative health care on your own, you might have run into certain other kinds of health care and been confused by the differences between them. Here are some simple definitions of each kind of practice:

    • Medical: Also known as “mainstream or “conventional.” This is the kind of health care with which people are most familiar. Diseases and symptoms are treated with drugs or surgery.
    • Non-medical: Diseases and symptoms are treated with a variety of modalities that do not fall under drugs and surgery.
    • Alternative care: Only non-medical approaches, such as acupuncture and rolfing (a type of tissue therapy), are utilized.
    • Complementary care: Non-medical care is used to enhance medical care.
    • Integrative/holistic care: Non-medical and medical approaches are considered for care while taking into consideration the process of healing, and long-term wellness. It looks at all the factors that affect a person’s health and treats the whole person. In holistic care, the focus tends to be on wellness and prevention rather than just treating illnesses.

At Colorado Integrative Neurology, we’re chiropractors, so technically we fall under the “non-medical” model. In practice, we fall under alternative, complementary, and integrative care, depending on the patient.

Why do we provide integrative care?

Illness does not occur in a vacuum. Things like our emotions, mental state, diet, sleep habits, spirituality and environment can all play a part in either creating illness or helping you heal.

This is more or less the idea behind integrative care. One of the defining principles of this type of health care includes the realization that the patient and practitioner are collaborating partners, rather than the doctor outranking the patient and behaving as such. This helps make care more effective because it requires that we spend more time interacting with you to fully understand the mechanisms and factors at play effecting your health journey.

We believe in the power of integrative care. That’s why we will work closely with both medical and non-medical practitioners on your team. Our goal is always to create comprehensive care, avoid overwhelming you, and improve your health outcomes.

We’re constantly adding other practitioners to our referral network, to help ensure that our patients get the best care possible.

How do you know if integrative health care is right for you?

Patients typically come to us for one of two reasons: Either they naturally gravitate towards drug-free, surgery-free forms of care, or they’ve already tried medical approaches and found that they weren’t getting the results they wanted. For people who feel as though mainstream health care is not effective enough on its own, our services can be a breath of fresh air.

That said, integrative care is not for everyone. It isn’t always covered by insurance, and it requires a lot of dedication on the patient’s part. It can take an extended amount of time to get in for an assessment, and patients often have to make serious lifestyle changes.

If you think that holistic care may be right for you, contact us today!

Copyright © 2019 Colorado Integrative Neurology. All Rights Reserved. Shawn VanWinkle, D.C., D.A.C.N.B. is a Doctor at Colorado Integrative Neurology. To learn more about how we can help you with your health goals visit our website at or email us at A free initial consultation can be scheduled by calling our office at (720) 328-5076.