Integrative Medicine and Lifestyle Wellness Lecture at LECOM

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Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 11:48 AM
Integrative Medicine and Lifestyle Wellness Lecture at LECOM by Jess Courter

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine will present a lecture on integrative medicine and how this type of treatment may help us live healthier on Thursday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m.

Gregory Coppola, DO will demonstrate this holistic approach in medicine, touching on treatments such as osteopathic manipulation, anti-inflammatory food choices, exercise, supplements and botanicals, medical acupuncture, and regenerative biomedicine. 

But first, what exactly is integrative medicine?

“Integrative medicine is a new, subspecialty within medicine that encompasses looking at an individual from a holistic standpoint,” explains Coppola, who is the director of the LECOM Integrative Medicine Fellowship. “That includes any physical aspect that may be contributing to their pain pattern or their life as well as mind-body, spiritual-emotional aspects that may be blending in to what their particular issue may be.”

In other words, integrative medicine involves treatments that focus not only on the physical characteristics but also the non-physical characteristics that can contribute to how a patient experiences pain over time. This type of medicine, Coppola says, is about providing alternative choices.

“I think integrative medicine is really foundationally about giving people options and I think it empowers patients,” he adds. “If people believe in what they’re doing, I think they’re going to have a better response.”

Integrative medicine is a subspecialty within osteopathic medicine, both sharing the same value of treating a patient as a whole, rather than focusing on and treating specific symptoms.

“We do a lot of hands-on treatment and…we’ve been trained to assess the anatomy of the body and the musculoskeletal system to see what their restrictions are,” he says. “Everybody has restrictions based upon who they are and where their pain pattern is.”

Osteopathic manipulation – one of the aforementioned treatments of integrative medicine – or manual therapy, as it is also referred to, concentrates on finding these areas of restriction and gently trying to derestrict them. This treatment is often compared to chiropractic medicine. However, while on the surface they seem similar, there are differences.

“Chiropractic medicine is really focused on the spinal alignment and osteopathic medicine is beyond the manual medicines,” he says. “It’s a full scope of medicine that encompasses more of the muscular-skeletal training.”

Medical acupuncture, another treatment Coppola will touch on during his lecture, is a treatment that has been around for several thousand years in which small needles are inserted into the body.

“It’s really an elegant way of looking at the body and finding different regions that can be stimulated,” he says. “These meridians are these regions that encompass the body that when you put a needle in these particular points it stimulates the body in a particular way.”

Although medical acupuncture is used for a variety of reasons, oftentimes it is used to reduce pain, to alleviate nausea, headaches, and dizziness, and even to help with substance abuse.

“There are a multitude of ways that we use acupuncture to help people…There’s protocols that we use that you can put points on the ear that actually help people that are trying to withdraw from nicotine or other drugs,” Coppola says. “There are even protocols that are being used within OBGYN for infertility or for women that may have dysfunctional uterine bleeding.”

This brings up the main question everyone must think when considering this treatment: Does it hurt? According to Coppola, there is minimal pain.

“It’s not nearly as, if you will, painful as some people might assume, even if you have a needle phobia. These are very small, stainless steel, sterile needles that we use so it’s very well tolerated.”

To hear more about integrative medicine and the treatments, don’t miss Coppola’s lecture at the LECOM Medical Fitness and Wellness Center, located at 5401 Peach St. Seats can be reserved by calling 868.7800.

Jess Courter can be reached at

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