Holistic Medicine 101

Holistic medicine has changed its appearance in the last two decades and has moved more into the mainstream as people are becoming more educated about their own health, and take more responsibility for it. A holistic approach to medicine considers the whole person and treats the whole person, not just the body, but the body, mind, spirit and the emotions. Symptoms are not treated alone, the causes are divined and the complete body is put into balance for optimal health and wellness.

There are many different holistic practitioners that work on the premise that if one area of whole is out of balance, then all the others are also affected. There has long been a known connection between emotional problems and physical health, where people with disorders such as depression also show physical symptoms such as lack of appetite, fatigue, insomnia and others. If the symptoms are treated, the cause is not cured and the underlying problems will only be held at bay rather then removed.

Holistic medicine embraces alternative medicines as well as standard practises, knowing that some conditions react better to complimentary therapies than to medication. For example, when a person suffering from migraine headaches pays a visit to a holistic doctor, instead of walking out solely with medications, the doctor will likely take a look at all the potential factors that may be causing the person’s headaches, such as other health problems, diet and sleep habits, stress and personal problems, and preferred spiritual practices. The treatment plan may involve drugs to relieve symptoms, but also lifestyle modifications to help prevent the headaches from recurring.

The power of holistic medicine is based on the belief that the body can heal itself of many things, and other principles like unconditional love and emotional support are essential to wellness; and that you have over all control for your individual health. Other principles include everyone has healing power within them, the patient is the person – not the disease, healing takes a team and addresses all the problems being experienced with a variety of treatments and each treatment fixes the cause, not just the symptoms.

Holistic practitioners use a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health. Depending on the practitioner’s training, these may include:

  • Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. This may include diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship and spiritual counseling, and more
  • Complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage, naturopathy, and others
  • Western medications and surgical procedures

If you are looking for a medical practitioner that uses only natural practices you will need to look for a naturopath or homeopath, but consider the use of a holistic practitioner to get yourself in peak condition if you have existing conditions. As always, take extra care when starting a new treatment and tlak to your medical professionals to see if it’s the right thing for you.

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