Application of Integrative Medicine

Integrative medicine can cover the current problems of conventional Western medicine (CWM) and improve the circumstances of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which integrate the efficacy of CWM and CAM.

unknown3It is likely that the beneficial effect of CAM is mainly due to (1) reduction of stress responses (anti-stress effects) and (2) inhibition of pain pathway (anti-nociceptive effects).

Mind-body therapy may promote these effects via stimulating the brain activity (especially, PFC and ACC) and its networking (top-down pathway), while manual therapies may promote these effects via stimulating somatosensory neurons (bottom-up pathway). 

Both pathways finally activate the release of opioids and oxytocin (OXT) from the periaqueductal gray (PAG) and paraventricular nucleus (PVN), respectively. Released opioids and OXT mediate anti-nociceptive effects and anti-stress effects. In concert with both pathways, CAM is effective for various diseases associated with stress and pain.

In addition, both pathways can regulate autonomic nervous system. The enhancement of parasympathetic activity may be beneficial for GI diseases and cardiovascular diseases.