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What Is Integrative Pharmacy?

What Is Integrative Pharmacy? Holistic Naturopathic Healing and Modern Medicine


“Once in a while you’re shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right”- Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter.

And that’s exactly the way I feel about what can be termed Integrative, Lifestyle and Functional Pharmacy. For this article, we will be using the term Integrative Pharmacy, and for more information after reading, I invite you to explore the Integrative Pharmacy Specialist Certification Program which I created here at freeCE.


What Does Integrative Pharmacy Mean?

The practice of Integrative Pharmacy is recognizing and utilizing components of both functional and lifestyle medicine, while incorporating both into the practice of allopathic, natural, and compounding pharmacy.

The essence of Integrative Pharmacy goes beyond the different types of lifestyle medicine which it recognizes, and as you will see, Integrative Pharmacy is core to the practice of pharmacy, stemming from pharmacy’s origins.

In Integrative Pharmacy, the patient is an active partner in care. The practitioner plays a role in their expertise of assessing, recommending, guiding, and supporting, while the patient is encouraged to make significant lifestyle changes where appropriate. Integrative Pharmacy recognizes that the patient’s home and community environment are contributing factors to their health and wellbeing.


Alternative Medicine & Modern Integrative Pharmacy

In Integrative Pharmacy, there is a focus on both root cause and symptoms, not just treating symptoms as is often found in allopathic care. Integrative Pharmacy recognizes that the Physician-Pharmacist-Patient triad is a key factor to the patient’s support team.

Within the practice of Integrative Pharmacy, medications, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle factors such as exercise and stress management offer a combined focus of care.


Why Integrative Pharmacy Is The Next Wave in Pharmacy Healthcare 

Ok, so now that you know the what, allow me to share with you the why.

Western/allopathic medicine has a tremendous emergency medical system, although as far as preventive care, the losses are greater than the wins.



Lifestyle related chronic diseases are presently the leading cause of morbidity and mortality and are responsible for most of our healthcare expenditure.

An astonishing fact is that more than 80% of chronic conditions could be avoided through the adoption of healthy lifestyle recommendations and diet.

So, the need is apparent from the medical system point of view. The path we are on is financially unsustainable and offers no healing options from the patient’s perspective.

Our patients are asking for more. Eighty percent of the population wants to live in a better state of health, but do not know how to pursue it. All the while, minimal information is given by health care practitioners on how to implement an effective, long-term plan to achieve health. We know the challenges that we face in providing such care: lack of time, staffing, training, etc.

Although, if we recognize the opportunity which exists, especially from the hub of community health, the pharmacy, significant changes to our current model are not just sustainable but welcome and needed.


The Functional Pharmacy 5 Key Approach

The Functional Pharmacy 5 Key Approach which I designed approaches the patient’s health through 5 core areas of preventative lifestyle care:

  1. Diet
  2. Stress Management
  3. Right Movement
  4. Positive Lifestyle Habits
  5. The balance of Nutraceutical and Medicinal care.

The next step from the Functional Pharmacy 5 Key Approach is stepping into Metabolic Pharmacy, with a focus of addressing the root cause of many of the preventable lifestyle disease states crippling our medical system.


Integrative Medicine Pharmacy Continuing Education

For more information, I invite you to check out my Integrative Pharmacy Specialist Certification Level 1 Integrative Pharmacy Specialist Certification II — and we also have one for technicians. You can find these specialty certificates here.

freeCE Gold and Silver members receive discounts on all specialty certificates, as well as unlimited access to CE activities. If you’d like unlimited access to all of freeCE’s specialized training opportunities, including Dr. Kress’s certificates, check out freeCE’s Platinum membership.


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