When Ken Wilber proposed the concept of Integral Psychology everybody thought it was a bold move. There were some detractors to the theory but there were a whole lot more who embraced it. However, a big question that existed at that point of time is that how can integral psychology be applied to everyday life of an average human being? How can it be used to improve the condition of living so to speak? One attempt that is clearly visible today is in the field of medicine.

Integral Psychology and Healthcare

A big change that integral psychology has ushered into the field of healthcare is that medical practitioners today accept that healing a patient is not always limited to the chemistry and biology. There are more abstract things like emotions and thoughts that also impact the healing process. So, a lot of medical practitioners are today using something called integral healthcare or integral medicine.

The basic fundamentals of integral medicine can be listed down as:

  • The practice recognizes that emotional, mental, and spiritual dimensions of human beings can impact a person’s health and severity of a disease.
  • Healing process should focus on the whole person and not just on the disease.
  • Body, mind, and spirit together contribute to overall wellness.

The four important paradigms of integral medicine are:

  1. Consciousness: This includes thoughts, emotions, spiritualism, and behavioural triggers.
  2. Holism: This includes the experiences that a person has and the oneness of it.
  3. Intentionality: This is where the mind and the body come together.
  4. Self View: This is how the person feels he or she is placed in the interconnectedness of life.

Integral medicine uses all these four paradigms to create holistic healing programs for people suffering from different diseases

How to Combine Integral Medicine with Mainstream Healthcare?

The approaches used in integral medicine are starkly different to the ones used in mainstream medicine. So, integrating both can be a very long and arduous process. So how can we go about it then?

Firstly, it has to be understood that integral medicine is not looking to replace mainstream practices. It is instead trying to introduce new dimensions that can improve the healing process and overall wellness in patients.

So, rather than looking at them as two competing thought processes, we should focus on creating a hybrid model of the two. This is similar to the auto industry that is trying to move from gas driven automobiles to the gas free automobiles. The first step for them is to create a hybrid model of car that works with and without gas.

The first place to start with is the physicians themselves. We need to educate our conventional medical practitioners about integral medicine. The next place to focus on is our educational institutes where medicine is taught.


Although it may seem a long shot, integral medicine can make real difference to the healing process of a patient. After all, it is only the patients who can say what makes them feel better.