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  • Writer's pictureJohn Kim

2022 State of Integrative Medicine

Updated: Apr 19, 2022

Since 1999, I dedicated myself to advancing integrative medicine through a number of projects. The best was Georgia Integrative Medicine which our team published a book on our collective experience. In 2022, I am ENCOURAGED at the overall direction of integrative medicine.

First of all, acceptance and demand for integrative medicine has grown and still growing rapidly. Now there exists a rich diversity of integrative medicine including lifestyle medicine, functional medicine, anti-aging medicine, etc. These diverse areas of integrative medicine allows for both patients to seek out care in a specialized clinical setting and physicians to specialize in areas of medicine that best suit them.

For myself, I have been drawn to below areas all due to either my direct experience or due to my loved ones' experiences:

  • Integrative Oncology

  • Integrative Pain Mangement

  • Integrative Approach to Allergy

  • Integrative Approach to Autoimmune Diseases.

  • Integrative Approach to Complex Mystery Illnesses

For example, I am a survivor of chronic pain. Today, I am free from chronic pain which medication, PT, injections, and surgery could not help. There have been loved ones who have benefited by surviving cancer, reversing allergy symptom by treating the root cause (yes, it is possible!), modulate immune system so that autoimmune diseases are in better control, and a family member that suffered a mystery condition which turned out to be allergic reaction to mold.

My skills were both forged by training with the best teachers including Drs. Bernie Siegel, Andrew Weil, and Richard Niemtzow and my private practice in Georgia where the people who came to me were in desperate need of help where they have been not only conventional physicians but also alternative healers. My clinic manager who was knowledgeable in the Native American way of healing used to call me "the badger medicine man." In her words, I never gave up fighting for my patients no matter how difficult their condition was.

Currently, I am in transition from 6 years of corporate integrative medicine. Frankly, I am ready for a break of being an employee of healthScare system (a term a borrowed from Ann Richardson. Ann is an expert in healthcare transformation. I have come to conclusion that the last position I held represented probably the best operating condition being able to achieve so much. However, the dysfunctions with health care systems I experienced appear to be universal per Ann.

So, I have decided to focus on projects. I am interested in projects that:

  1. Create value-based care setting for integrative medicine

  2. Increase engagement with insurance for integrative medicine

  3. Push the boundaries of what is possible using integrative medicine.

1. Value Based Care - Integrative Medicine/Functional Medicine

  • means operating with a member funded budget and the care can focus on longer-term relationship and outcome. This involves creating a membership based organization.

2. Insurance Based Integrative Medicine/Functional Medicine

  • many integrative medicine/functional medicine/lifestyle medicine practices find it difficult to accept insurance because of the cost of accepting insurance in terms of discounting our fees, the complexity of engaging insurance system, and finally the fear of non-compliance.

3. Project Milagro

  • Milagro means miracle in Spanish. What looks like a miracle to public - such as ballet performers doing pirouette, martial artists breaking bricks with bare hands, or a baker creating a beautiful, elaborate wedding cake. To the masters of their arts of crafts, what looks like miracle is a result of years of know how that has been acquired by correct teaching, painful practice, and the will to master the craft.

  • What this project is seeking is an opportunity to create a large impact on one patient at a time. From my training, I have acquired skills from master healer physicians secrets that have helped my patients. For example, while I cannot reverse stage IV cancer, the protocols I have learned have helped for some patients to live remaining life relatively pain-free and full of energy (individual results will differ). Also, some of patients (including myself) who have been given chronic pain diagnosis for life, can lead a relatively normal life with minimal pain or manageable pain. The first requirement of this project with an individual with indomitable will whose medical condition (in my judgment) has still a window of opportunity for triggering healing. The second requirement is that the individual must be near San Antonio. The third would be because of the amount of time and focus required for this work, the person must be willing to pay the cost. I am hoping these results could be documented (with consent of the patient) and preserved so that these "miraculous" results would one day become normal.

In 2022, there are many tasks now possible through technology and evolution of consciousness especially through the trials and tribulations from COVID. At one point, telemedicine was resisted by medical industry and patients. Now, telemedicine is one of the fastest growing sector in medicine.

Yoon Hang Kim MD MPH

Integrative Medicine Leader, Consultant, and Physician

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