Convergence of principles of palliative care and integrative medicine has led to the introduction of the new practice of integrative palliative care in which integrative therapies (including mind-body modalities, traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, and dietary supplements) are used to provide symptom management for patients who are dying or experiencing the sequelae of serious illness and its treatment. We propose an East-West Integrative palliative care model using non-drug therapies, such as acupuncture, diet, exercise, and stress management that shift the paradigm from suppressing the symptoms of illness to addressing both the root cause of the symptoms and the imbalance and declining homeostatic reserve that perpetuate these symptoms. This whole-person model expands the reach of palliative care, prolonging a better quality of life and allowing the patient to maintain as many activities as possible by preventing symptoms and improving function. Through this approach we reframe the dialogue such that patients are “living better” rather than “dying better” when faced with serious illness or death. In this article, we provide an overview of the principles of palliative care, integrative medicine, and the novel area of integrative palliative care, and propose an East-West integrative palliative care model that incorporates and broadens the scope of these existing approaches.
© 2021. The Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.