Your neighbor is constantly telling you about the supplement they’ve found that makes them feel half their age. An acupuncturist is said to have improved the stress level and overall health of your colleagues. A friend has told you about how essential oils have made their health issues more manageable. Maybe you’ve considered trying hypnosis to stop smoking, but you’ve heard it might be just a waste of money. Your doctor recommends a change in eating habits to promote better health. 

These examples were considered by most to be controversial, ineffective and even on the fringe just a few years ago. As evidence showing the safety and effectiveness of many of these therapies began to grow, these treatments gained traction as viable options for health and healing. Physicians started to integrate aspects of what was once seen as alternative medicine into conventional medical care, giving rise to the specialty of Integrative Medicine. 

“The key word to focus on here is ‘integrated,’” says Brent Bauer, M.D., with Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Program.“With integrative medicine, conventional remedies meet alternative therapies to transform health.”

To make things clear, Dr. Bauer gives this example: Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine, like using a special diet to treat cancer instead of surgery, radiation or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor. Integrative medicine, on the other hand, combines mainstream medical treatments and complementary therapies that have scientific evidence behind safety and efficacy, like using acupuncture to help lessen nausea after surgery.

“People who take an active role in their health care experience better health and improved healing,” Dr Bauer continues. “I’d encourage YPO members and anyone to think about personal wellness. No approach, conventional or integrative, can help health goals be achieved if steps aren’t taken to build a foundation of wellness first. The basic components of a healthy life, things like nutrition, exercise, stress management and a strong support network, will provide a wellness foundation. No integrative, alterative or conventional approaches can take the place of these basic tenets.”

The good news is, Dr. Bauer believes we can all begin building personal wellness through an integrative medicine journey today with a few simple steps.

  1. Try one new form of exercise. Dr. Bauer recommends low impact options like yoga, tai chi, or qi gong.
  2. Look for a new way to manage your stress this week. Consider practicing deep breathing, mindful meditation, or guided imagery.
  3. Do something spiritual for yourself one day this week. Prayer and meditation, keeping a journal, helping someone in need and spending time in nature are all spiritual practices.

“There are many ways to add integrative medicine therapies into our daily lives,” Dr. Bauer remarks. “The key is getting started and finding those treatments that work best for each person.”

Mayo Clinic’s Integrated Medicine and Health Department also includes a team of certified wellness coaches that work with our Executive Health Program patients to create realistic action plans, set achievable goals, overcome barriers, and build confidence in making these wellness activities a sustainable habit.  Many YPO members have benefited from working with a wellness coach.

The Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program partners with YPO to provide health and wellness education and content that is relevant to busy CEOs who prioritize being on the top of their game and their health. Internationally renowned, Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing.  

For more information on what the Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program can do for YPO members, companies, forums and chapters, reach out to YPO Connect Mayo Clinic

Brent A. Bauer, M.D., works with patients within the Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program. He is board-certified in internal medicine and is founder of the Mayo Clinic Integrative Medicine and Health Program. Dr. Bauer has written more than 100 papers on integrative therapies, and he is the medical editor of Mayo Clinic Book of Integrative Medicine. Dr. Bauer’s expertise can be requested through the Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program. 

As a leading authority on the health needs of CEOs and business leaders, the Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program is proud to share this message from our team.