Integrative Medicine Helps Patients Find A Healthy Balance

Dr. Clayton BellIntegrative Medicine is quickly becoming a new method of patient care, yet many are unaware of how this approach to medicine can greatly improve lives.

According to Dr. Clayton Bell, a specialist in the Integrative Healthcare program at The University of Tennessee Medical Center’s (UTMC) Cancer Institute and Integrative Health Clinic, Integrative Medicine is an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental influences that may affect a person’s overall health. 

“Integrative Medicine programs are designed to provide supportive and healing-oriented therapies for patients during all stages of care from diagnosis, to treatment, and beyond,” said Bell.  “In addition to being especially beneficial to cancer patients, Integrative Medicine therapies are helpful to patients with a range of other conditions as well.”

Bell explains that while Integrative Medicine is a relatively new concept in mainstream healthcare, it is becoming more and more popular in research hospitals across the U.S.
Clayton Bell, MD

“Integrative Medicine is an inclusive program that works in combination with Western medicine practices while helping patients make strong recoveries by healing the whole person,” said Bell. “In today’s society, we are accustomed to relying on pharmaceuticals for a quick fix. Therefore, many Americans are ‘sick’ based off of what they consider as their normal lifestyles, which may not be health promoting in nature.”

Bell explains that it’s important to “listen” to one’s body and in a person’s daily life, balance is key. Therefore, healthy nutrition, sleep, stress management, and physical activity are all strong elements suggested in maintaining a balanced, healthy life.  

“Research has proven that each of these elements affect the physical, emotional, cognitive and social dispositions of individuals of all ages,” said Bell. “Outside of a healthy lifestyle, we often suggest patients participate in meditation, experiment with yoga, engage in mind-body therapies, and perhaps take a particular supplement or herb for their specific condition.”

According to Bell, integrative treatments are shown to have positive effects on individuals suffering from stress due to illnesses or other life issues.

“Ultimately, you are what you surround yourself with and it all starts with a change in how we view ourselves and the world around us,” said Bell.

An Integrative Healthcare program can assist patients suffering from a variety of conditions including addiction, cancer, depression, heart disease, and weight loss, as well as other common illnesses, explains Bell.

For more information about UTMC’s Integrative Healthcare program or to schedule an appointment, call 865.971.3539. Additionally, for reliable information on any health-related topic, contact UTMC’s Health Information Center at 865.305.9525. Staffed by medical librarians and certified health information specialists, the Health Information Center offers an extensive health library, digital and print resources, walk-in assistance, and help with research on specific health conditions – all free of charge and available to the public.

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, the region’s only hospital to achieve status as a Magnet® recognized organization, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center, a 609-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, serves as a referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. The medical center, the region’s only Level I Trauma Center, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. For more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center, visit online at