Health & Wellness

Colorado Health & Wellness | Spring 2016

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30 I N T E G R A T I O N by Maribeth Neelis Nearly half of U.S. adults live with at least one chronic illness, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 40 percent experience chronic pain. Managing these complex, persistent conditions presents a challenge for conventional doctors. "I began to look around for alternatives and initially started to explore acupuncture," says Dr. Kimberly Larson-Ohlsen, an OB/GYN with Colorado Complete Health for Women in Aurora. "I obtained my 300- hour certification and was seeing amazing results," says Larson-Ohlsen, who has since done a two-year fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona with noted expert Dr. Andrew Weil. Although their specialties and treatments might vary, their attention to chronic illness and efforts to find a better way to treat the kinds of health problems that are typically managed rather than cured ties integrative physicians together. Integrative medicine aims to restore balance and achieve wellness by focusing on the whole person, including body, mind and spirit, a staple of traditional Eastern healing. Research, particularly on acupuncture and herbal medicine, has increased in past years, says Larson-Ohlsen and Dr. Edward Carriere, an integrative specialist and internist in Englewood. Both cite a number of studies demonstrating such benefits as lowered blood pressure, reduced pain, decreased gastrointestinal complaints, fewer headaches and improved sleep. Partnership in Health For patients, becoming active participants in their own health care can make the biggest difference in integrative medicine's success, Carriere says. "As physicians, people come to us to be healed," he says. "But, I don't heal anything. I give you the right tools, point you in the right direction. You have to be committed to healing yourself." Doctors Battle Chronic-Illness Crisis with Tools from East and West For many Americans, particularly those nearing their "golden years," pain and illness are just a part of life. But some doctors, frustrated with their limitations in treating these patients, are turning toward the East to help with their aging patient base, offering up a more holistic approach to care. H E A L T H for Dr. Kimberly Larson-Ohlsen provides acupuncture to a patient. I N T E G R A T I O N H E A L T H for

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