Integrative medicine relies on a comprehensive approach to treating patients. It allows for assessment of the patient as a whole. It does not just treat a singular problem, but instead assesses ways that improve quality of life and are not focused on treating one issue. Instead, it promotes well-being and healing that can both treat current problems and prevent future problems from arising.
Several integrative modalities, such as PEMF, laser, TENS and NMES can be used to help in physical rehabilitation. PEMF, pulsed electromagnetic field, technologies act to initiate an anti-inflammatory cascade that improves blood flow, reduces swelling and can help with bone healing. Other modalities include laser therapy. Hot lasers are often used in surgery to cut and burn tissue as a means of controlling blood flow. Cold lasers can be used over joints, skin, and muscles to promote cellular repair and decrease swelling, pain, and inflammation as well as to promote healing, improve flow in blood and lymphatic vessels, in addition to causing a release of natural endorphins.
These therapies can be used as components of an integrative approach to treating patients to help manage pain and improve healing. Other components of a rehabilitation plan can include neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) which can help to activate muscles in a way similar to voluntary exercise. This can help maintain muscle mass, strengthen muscles, retrain muscles, and control swelling. NMES has an important role in patients who are recumbent or who have lost the use of their limbs due to trauma or neurological problems. Another modality that works through electrical stimulation is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). TENS therapy can help with pain management. It can act where pain is processed to block the transmission of the messages carried by pain pathways. In this way, it can manage pain, control edema (swelling) because it dilates the lymphatics and also stimulates nerves. Using all of these modalities together provides a complete approach to give patients the best chance to recover from injury and maintain an optimal level of health.