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Duke Integrative Medicine Wheel of Health

© Duke University 2010

Medical research is bringing us closer to identifying genetic susceptibilities for disease, while our population achieves an ever increasing life span in an increasingly fast-paced, demanding technological society. Given these realities, the need to develop comprehensive and dynamically responsive health care plans for optimal well-being, with a full range of healing resources, becomes increasingly apparent.

For this reason, we focus on assisting you in the creation of personalized health plans that are as responsive to your initial concerns as they are to your changing health needs.

We divide our individualized recommendations into nine key health and wellness areas:

Color and Its Meaning

Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a pivotal concept that embodies awareness of physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being. Self-awareness enables you to recognize symptoms as they emerge, when they are most readibly treatable.

Self-care: You are encouraged to explore how the dynamic interplay of the self-care concept resonates in all aspects of health and wellness, and to develop proactive strategies to improve or maintain your health.

Professional Care: Recognizing symptoms early is key to diagnosing health problems when they are most treatable, and awareness of the need for professional care is an integral component of the integrative approach to medicine.


Mind-Body Connection: State of mind has a tremendous impact on how a body responds to stress—whether it reacts in ways that harm health or ways that protect. Breathing techniques, meditation, progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery can be used to activate the body’s relaxation response and to reduce stress.

Movement & Exercise: Very few people really exercise despite the fact that the human body is designed to be in motion. A mere 20 minutes of physical activity a day will help to prevent a very large number of common diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

Nutrition: A healthy diet will both feed and protect you from many illnesses, while a poorly balanced diet will make you vulnerable to substances that compromise health. We encourage you to choose foods that will protect, for example, those containing Omega-3 fatty acids, rather than those that put your health at risk.

Personal Growth & Spirituality: Spirituality is the capacity for you to see purpose and meaning in life in something larger than you. Self-awareness of this kind can have very positive beneficial effects on health and well-being.

Physical Environment: Every aspect of a physical environment can influence well-being. By paying attention to senses such as light, noise, color and odors, you can create environments that nurture.

Relationships: Positive social relationships and support are a key to well-being. The quality of relationships is very important, and you should be selective, spending more time with people who give you energy and less with those who drain you.

Professional Care

Pharmaceuticals & Supplements: Before taking pharmaceuticals or supplements, it is important to learn about them—why you need them, how they can help you, and what the side effects are. Medication may be prescribed by your health provider and provided by a pharmacist.

Preventive Medicine: Prevention is always preferred to treating a disease, and there are many tests that can help you identify your risk for disease and give you information that can help protect you from illness.

Conventional & CAM Treatments: Alternative approaches, such as massage, osteopathy, acupuncture and hypnosis, can often help when conventional medicine cannot. The key lies in the appropriate integration of all effective therapies.

  • Copyright © 2020 Peggy Gleason RN, N.H.D.

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