Skip to main content

Holistic integrative medicine: toward a new era of medical advancement


Medicine has encountered unprecedented problems associated with changes in nature, society, and environment, as well as with new human quests for survival, longevity, and health. In the meantime, the development of medicine is facing challenges that resulted from the over-division and specialization of disciplines and the fragmentation of medical knowledge. To construct a new medical system that is more suitable for human health and disease treatment, holistic integrative medicine (HIM), which regards the human body as a holistic entity, organically integrates the most advanced knowledge and theories in each medical field and the most effective practices in various clinical specialties to revise and adjust on the basis of social, environmental, and psychological conditions. HIM is the inevitable and necessary direction for the future development of medicine. In this article, we illustrated the connotation of HIM, the differences between HIM and other medical conceptions, and the practice of HIM in recent years.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. 1.

    Roy P. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Medicine. London: Cambridge University Press, 2001

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Fan D. Holistic integrative medicine. AmJ Dig Dis 2014; 1(1): 22–36

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Fan D. Advance and retreat of life science in three thousand years. Negative (Yi Xue Zheng Ming) 2010; 1(1): 1–6 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Fan D. On holistic integrative medicine. Negative (Yi Xue Zheng Ming) 2014; 5(5): 1–13 (in Chinese)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Fan D. More reflection on medicine and science. Negative (Yi Xue Zheng Ming) 2015; 6(6): 1–16 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Fan X, Yang Z, Fan D. More reflection on holistic integrative medicine. Med Philos (Humanistic & Social Medicine Edition) (Yi Xue Yu Zhe Xue Ren Wen She Hui Yi Xue Ban) 2013; 34(3): 6–11,27 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Fan D. Preliminary reflection on holistic integrative medicine. Negative (Yi Xue Zheng Ming) 2012; 3(2): 3–12 (in Chinese)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    Fan D. Medicine and science. Negative (Yi Xue Zheng Ming) 2015; 6(2): 1–19 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Sierpina V, Kreitzer MJ, Anderson R, Hanaway P, Shannon S, Sudak N. The American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine: past, present, and future. Explore (NY) 2010; 6(3): 192–195

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Junaid R, Abaas M, Fatima B, Anis I, Hussain M. Attitude and practice of patients and doctors towards complementary and alternative medicine. J Pak Med Assoc 2012; 62(8): 865–868

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Dobos G, Tao I. The model ofWestern integrative medicine: the role of Chinese medicine. Chin J Integr Med 2011; 17(1): 11–20

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Wang J, Gou J, Zhao J. The practice and function of multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment in general hospitals. Med Philos (Yi Xue Yu Zhe Xue) 2015; 36(9B): 1–4 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group. Evidence-based medicine. A new approach to teaching the practice of medicine. JAMA 1992; 268(17): 2420–2425

    Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Jiang XW, Yin N, Dai K. The practice of translational medicine at Harvard Medical School and its implication in China. Natl Med J China (Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi) 2010; 90(22): 1519–1521 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Yang Z. Do not let precision medicine be kidnapped. Front Med 2015; 9(4): 512–513

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Fan D. Integrative lessons for pharmacologists and physicians. Negative (Yi Xue Zheng Ming) 2014; 5(1): 1–6 (in Chinese)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Fan D. Holistic integrative gastroenterology guides the development of gastroenterology in China. Chin J Dig (Zhonghua Xiao Hua Za Zhi) 2013; 33(10): 649–650 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Fan D. Holistic integrative hepatology. Chin J Hepatol (Zhonghua Gan Zang Bing Za Zhi) 2015; 23(7): 481–482 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Yang Z, Liu Y, Fan D. Theory and practice of holistic integrative medicine. Chin J Intern Med (Zhonghua Nei Ke Za Zhi) 2016; 55(6): 480–482 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Fan D. Application of holistic integrative medicine in endocrinological and metabolic diseases. Chin J Endocrinol Metab (Zhonghua Nei Fen Mi Dai Xie Za Zhi) 2016; 32(3): 177–180 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Yang Z, Fan D. Theoretical analysis of holistic integrative medicine. Natl Med J China (Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi) 2016; 96(4): 247–249 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Liu Y. Holistic Integrative Hepato-Enterology — a dialogue between liver and gut. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House, 2014 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  23. 23.

    Wang N. Holistic Integrative Ophthalmology. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House, 2014 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Li Z, Chen R, Hu X. Holistic Integrative Pancreatic Oncology. Shanghai: Shanghai Science and Technology Press, 2015 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Fang J. Holistic Integrative Colorectal Oncology. Beijing: People’s Medical Publishing House, 2015 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Fan D. Holistic Integrative Medicine—Theory and Practice. Xi’an: World Book Publishing Xi’an Co., Ltd., 2016 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  27. 27.

    Fan D. Health care reform through addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Negative (Yi Xue Zheng Ming) 2016; 7(3): 1–20 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Fan D. Strategy of top quality improvement and discipline construction. Negative (Yi Xue Zheng Ming) 2015; 6(1): 1–16 (in Chinese)

    Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Fan D. Holistic integrative medicine—a new era of medical development. Natl Med J China (Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi) 2016; 96(22): 1713–1718 (in Chinese)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daiming Fan.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fan, D. Holistic integrative medicine: toward a new era of medical advancement. Front. Med. 11, 152–159 (2017).

Download citation


  • holistic integrative medicine
  • precision medicine
  • general practice
  • medicine