Monthly Archives: September 2015

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Alternative, Holistic, Integrative, and Complementary Medicine: What’s the Difference?

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Alternative, holistic, integrative, and complementary medicine are all terms that are often used interchangeably when discussing a certain approach to health care. Although they do share a common thread, understanding the subtle differences between these terms helps demonstrate the goals and philosophies behind each. Here’s the rundown:

Alternative Medicine: Alternative medicine describes practices not taught in or offered at standard western medical institutions, such as medical schools and hospitals. Many alternative medicine methods are based in eastern medicine or traditions of indigenous people. Some of these methods or practices include herbal medicine, acupuncture, and therapeutic massage.

Complementary Medicine: Complementary medicine is alternative methods used alongside conventional or Western medicine. For example, a patient may be taking a conventional Western medication for arthritis and also use acupuncture to manage their pain or other symptoms.

Holistic or Integrative Medicine: Integrative medicine describes an approach that seeks to treat a person as a whole– think, “treat the patient, not the disease.” As with complimentary medicine, it’s not so much an alternative to traditional western medicine as a way patients can improve their quality of life and even potentially improve the outcomes of their more traditional treatments through things like nutrition, exercises and therapies designed to reduce stress, etc.

Interested in learning more about these approaches to medicine? The Advanced Health and Wellness Center will be hosting a series of free lectures on topics in integrative medicine. The next lecture will be Wednesday, September 30th. You can register here, and join the conversation in the comments!

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Wellness-Inspired Gift Ideas

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Ever noticed how many birthdays you seem to be celebrating in September? It’s not just in your head–September is THE birthday month. Just check out this infographic!

To help you with all those birthdays, check out these gift ideas. They’re all about encouraging healthy choices without being boring, judgy, or bland, so that you can feel as good about giving as they will about receiving!


A good blender is a game changer for anyone who struggles to eat his or her daily share of produce. Smoothies are just easier–and more fun. Take a look at all the things you can do with kale or spinach! Bonus points if the recipient is a parent–apparently smoothies are the best for coaxing picky eaters into getting their nutrients! This is a peak wedding month, too, so consider investing in a quality piece (preferably with a sound muffling cover–good blenders are LOUD) for a couple you adore. CNET has a great roundup of 2015’s best models.

Professional Massage

It can be hard for busy, working professionals to take time to indulge in some quality self-care. Make them with a gift voucher for a professional massage. Treat yourself while you’re at it–a medically trained masseuse can help you work on a long term plan to keep you feel fresh and energized all year long!

Fitness Tracker

Now, this one is a little trickier, etiquette-wise. We recommend it only for someone you’ve discussed it with previously–preferably in a context other than weight loss. The last thing you want is to make the birthday gal or guy feel self-conscious. Ideally, you should have a tracker too–half the fun of quality fitness trackers is the ability to “team up” via the corresponding app to cheer each other on virtually throughout the day. You can learn more about the best versions on the market here.

Park Pass

Know any outdoorsy types–or aspiring outdoorsy types? A park pass could be a perfect gift for them. In New Jersey, $50 grants you access all year to all the parks (most cost $5-$10 for each entry). Bundle it up in a cute little travel guide like this one for a sweet gift that’ll keep on giving. Time outdoors offers lots of health benefits, from  reducing stress to boosting the immune system.

A Healthy You

It’s cheesy, but it’s true: the best gift you can give your loved ones is to take good care of yourself. That way, you’ll have the energy, health, and enthusiasm to keep making memories with them for years to come. If fatigue, pain, or struggles with your weight have been holding you back, request an appointment today, and give your friends and family the joy of seeing a healthier, happier you.

Good health requires balance. Physical fitness, nutrition, sleep, pain management, and stress relief all contribute to a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. At the Advanced Health and Wellness Center of New Jersey, we help patients struggling with weight loss, fatigue, fibromyalgia, and other conditions using holistic techniques. Request an appointment and get started on a path towards comprehensive wellness.