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Integrative Practitioner is the leading online resource for integrative healthcare practitioners and professionals, providing its users with access to the most up-to-date information in integrative health news, events, and resources. We aim to support the wide spectrum of integrative healthcare practitioners with educational and informative content that is relevant to their patients and beneficial to their practice.


The gut-brain connection is a familiar concept that underscores the mind’s capacity to affect digestive health. However, new research shows that this relationship also functions in reverse. Specifically, microbial residents of the intestinal tract can influence emotional state, mood, cognition, stress responses and social behavior. Accordingly, as single agents or as adjuncts to traditional approaches, probiotics have many emerging applications in clinical psychiatry.



Become inspired  

Registration is now open for the 2016 Integrative Healthcare Symposium annual conference. Attend and find inspiration, ideas and answers while building a network of diverse colleagues. Learn more


Botanical-and-Nutritional-Compounds-to-Optimize-Neurocognitive-HealthBotanical and Nutritional Compounds to Optimize Neurocognitive Health

Adaptogenic botanicals, an elite group of herbs, promote natural, healthy function and replenish depleted energy reserves that are essential for cognition, positive mood and restorative sleep. Chronic stress, whether environmental, internal or social, has significant impact on our emotional and mental health because of its adverse effect on the neuroendocrine system. Botanical medicines offer a profound alternative or adjunct to pharmaceutical medicines, especially when used in combination with nutrients and natural compounds to support foundational issues and optimize healthy function of cognition and mood.  


Open Heart Integrative Practice

by Lise Alschuler, ND, FABNO

Illness is a teacher with many lessons.  The lessons are not easy, and some are exceptionally difficult.  Perhaps the most difficult lesson of all is the instruction of unconditional love. We all occasionally forget that we are unconditionally loved every moment for being exactly who we are. We forget and suffer because of it.  Fortunately for us, grace intercedes on our behalf and creates opportunities for us to remember that we are deeply, soundly and surely loved.  One of the most powerful of these opportunities is the experience of illness.  Every illness through the suffering it creates, beckons us to sink back into the open arms of forgiveness and love.  This is the most magnificent gift of illness.

And, as with some gifts, it is not always or easily accepted.  In some cases, the gift of unconditional love is flat out and resolutely rejected.  Stripped then of its most majestic offering, illness becomes a raw and painful experience.   Suffering descends.  Nowhere is this more poignant than in the experience that we name ‘heart disease’.   The heart is, after all, the bodily symbol of love.  To experience illness in the very organ from which our sense of love originates has the potential to mutate our ability to receive the love gift that this illness brings.  Instead, those with heart disease may find themselves reeling in anger and grief.  The gentle balm of all encompassing love is not felt.   The gift of heart disease lays unopened and beyond reach, beyond reach until we pick it up and offer the gift of heart disease as a gift. 

We keep our arms extended, laden with this most exquisite gift, until it is received.  We, the integrative practitioners, are gift bearers.  We recognize the sacred gifts that illness brings and we acknowledge the suffering of those who are unable to accept these gifts.  When we do our service well, we embody the gift itself. We unconditionally love those in our care.  We pass no judgment on their suffering or their experience. We simply love – with all of our hearts.  Our love constructs a web that connects the illness to the person to the suffering to love to us. As this web shimmers with the intensity of these connections, love travels the strand and the gift of illness is received.  In this moment, the ill person is well, whole and healed. Their heart is open, full and robust.  Their heart is not dis-eased.  All is cradled in the soft warm embrace of unconditional love.

This moment is the transcendent moment of our healing work.  It is this moment which we are service bound to continually strive to create, re-create and create again. Our willingness to simultaneously embrace the bounty of illness while, at the same time, recognize the pain it causes, mark us as healers.  Our medicine bag contains that which we know can ease the suffering of illness, but is permeated with love, our most powerful medicine.  We engage the experience of illness and facilitate the myriad of gifts that it brings.  People heal, love returns. This is the open-hearted way of practice.

Additional articles by this author: