What is Holistic Medicine?
Holistic medicine is based on the belief that all components of one’s body are interconnected. Good health occurs when every organ and system is functioning properly. Any imbalance can increase the risk of illness and disease. There are various benefits of holistic medicine.
Holistic doctors understand the importance of one’s mind, body, soul, and emotions, and how they interact with one another to impact an individual’s health. Holistic doctors use a combination of conventional medicine practices along with scientifically proven alternative therapies such as functional medicine and acupuncture to improve the overall health and well-being of their patients. Although medications and conventional drugs can be used, they are avoided as much as possible. Some of the primary principles embraced by holistic medicine include:
- Focus on the person as a whole rather than just focusing on the illness or disease.
- Treatment is based on finding and eradicating the cause of an illness or disease rather than just treating the symptoms.
- All aspects of one’s life are addressed during a consultation with a holistic doctor, including an individual’s psychological, mental, and physical problems.
- Harness the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
- Greater focus on nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress management for improving the overall health of patient.
- Emphasis on mind-body connection and other aspects of a patient’s life like their relationships, spiritual health, and mental well-being. Each of these can negatively impact their health.
Holistic Medicine Benefits
Holistic medicine has been used for thousands of years to promote healing and wellness. It works by correcting deficiencies, balancing body systems, and promoting good health. Some key benefits of holistic medicine include:
- Emphasis on Illness Prevention – Holistic medicine’s main goal is to improve the health of each patient, increase patients’ awareness of potential health conditions, and prevent the development of disease or illness. These goals are accomplished by empowering and encouraging patients to modify unhealthy lifestyle choices that may be causing or contributing to the their health conditions. A holistic practitioner will recommend a variety of immune boosting techniques and strategies to improve a patient’s health.
- Whole Person Healing – One of the main characteristics of holistic medicine is the understanding of how the mind, body, spirit, and emotions work together and affect an individual’s health. Studies have shown that stress can cause a number of illnesses. A holistic doctor will incorporate all aspects of a person’s life into a treatment plan rather than just concentrating on managing symptoms.
- Integration of Healing Systems– Lifestyle modifications, complementary medical approaches such as functional medicine, and conventional medical treatments are all used in holistic medicine. Holistic practitioners and patients work together to find treatments that meet the needs of each patient including prescription medications, herbal remedies, supplements, and lifestyle changes.
- Patient Empowerment – Oftentimes in conventional medicine patients rely solely on their doctor’s recommendations and medications. Unfortunately, most medications are used to treat and mask the symptoms. Holistic medicine empowers patients to take responsibility for their own health and well-being.
Everyone knows the importance of a healthy diet, daily exercise, a good night’s sleep, and decreased stress levels; however, most patients have trouble incorporating healthy changes into their day to day lives. Rather than giving the patient a list of things that they “should” do, a holistic doctor along with a health coach will talk with the patient about the lifestyle changes that they can begin making today. The doctor and patient discuss the changes the patient is ready to make, the changes the patient is not ready to make, and the changes that will impact and improve the patient’s health. The patient and their doctor will work together to develop a plan to help improve the patient’s health through effective and proven protocols.
- Enabling the Body’s Innate Ability to Heal Itself – Holistic doctors understand that the body has a natural ability to heal itself. When the mind, body, and spirit are in sync and healthy, the body’s ability to heal itself improves. Holistic medicine uses numerous treatment methodologies to enhance a patient’s natural immunity, reduce inflammation in the body, and regulate the process in the body.
- Personalized Attention – Holistic care is patient centered, which means that every patient will work alongside their doctor to determine the best methods to enhance health. Holistic practitioners typically give patients more time and attention than conventional medicine. Conventional doctors, due to constraints from insurance programs, often have limited time and energy to focus on each patient. The philosophy of holistic medicine encourages holistic doctors to prioritize and focus on each patient’s health and well-being by giving them the time and attention they deserve.
- Patient and Practitioner Relationship – One of the most important aspects of holistic medicine is the symbiotic relationship that is built between the holistic practitioner and the patient. The patient is more than just a list of past medical history and symptoms. A holistic doctor considers how the patient thinks, acts, and feels based on their unique physical, spiritual, social, and psychological makeup. This enables the doctor to develop a complete and effective diagnosis and treatment plan that considers all areas of the patient’s life including medical and family history as well as social lifestyle for optimum results.
- Teach by Example– Holistic practitioners understand the importance of teaching by example. Not only do practitioners recommend healthy lifestyle changes, medications, and natural remedies for their patients, but they also practice similar methods such as healthy lifestyle with regular detoxifications This helps patients trust their practitioners and heal faster. Additionally, if the patient has questions or concerns, the holistic doctor can better understand what the patient may be feeling and offer effective guidance.
- Mind Body Connection– An individual’s thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and attitude impact their emotional health and their physical health. Conversely, an individual’s physical health can impact how they feel about themselves, others, and the world. This complex interrelationship is known as the mind body connection. Holistic medicine seeks to address both the mind and body to bring about optimal health and well-being.
- Power of Positive Thinking – Holistic medicine understands that when it comes to health, attitude plays a vital role. Research has shown that having a positive attitude and emotions can help a patient bounce back from an illness. Learning how to find balance, lower stress levels, and improve your outlook on life is key to longevity, improved health, and lower risk of disease.
- Harnessing the Power of Mother Nature – Mother Nature provides humankind with numerous ways to improve one’s health and cure illness and disease. For thousands of years, humans have relied on the power of plants to treat their ailments. Many people do not realize that around three quarters of all medications currently on the market contain natural plant extracts, molds, or fungi.
Throughout the world, there are more than eighty thousand plants used in holistic and conventional medicine. For example, one of the key ingredients used in aspirin is salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is developed from the bark of will trees and myrtle trees. Other common medications that have plant derived ingredients include codeine, pseudoephedrine, motion sickness medications, and camphor.
- Life’s Learning Opportunities– Holistic medicine understands that a person’s life is filled with opportunities to learn and grow. These opportunities include joy, sickness, birth, and even death. By teaching the patient how to look at each trial as a learning opportunity, the practitioner is able to help the patient focus on learning opportunities rather than just the emotional aspect of things that happen in their life. This methodology helps reduce stress, improve the patient’s outlook on life and promote emotional, physical, and psychological healing.
- Balancing Stress – The goal of holistic medicine is for each patient to obtain a balanced life and optimal health. The patient’s mental and emotional health will also be addressed. A holistic doctor may recommend incorporating stress relief techniques like prayer, journaling, and yoga into their patient’s daily life. Guided imagery, meditation, and hypnotherapy are used to clear the mind, while yoga and tai chi are used to strengthen the body.
- Power of Compassion and Caring– With holistic doctors endeavor to meet the patient’s expectations with kindness, grace, and compassion. Practitioners understand that compassion and caring is a powerful healer when dealing with any type of illness and include it in every treatment plan. When a patient feels cared for, they are willing to follow the advice of the practitioner and thus improve their health.
- Affordable Care – Many people are surprised to learn that holistic care is one of the most affordable healthcare programs in the world. Considering the high cost of surgeries and hospitalizations, most holistic treatment protocols are quite affordable. These simple and natural treatments have been used for many years to enhance the immune system and promote natural healing.
Holistic Treatment Options
Holistic care uses a variety of treatment modalities to ensure each patient receives the most optimum medical care they need. This includes conventional medicine, complementary and alternative medicine treatments, herbal remedies, dietary supplementation, mind and body therapy, stress relief techniques, chiropractic care, massage therapy, homeopathy, and acupuncture.
- Complementary and Alternative Medicine Treatments (CAM) – Approximately 40 percent of Americans seek Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) treatments in conjunction with or in place of conventional medical approaches. Complementary therapies as well as alternative medicine therapies are designed to improve the health of a patient naturally by helping bring the body’s systems in line. Some common complementary therapies include homeopathy, massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and naturopathic medicine. Holistic medicine combines the best of conventional medicine, with science-based alternative treatment modalities for the benefit of patients.
- Functional Medicine – Functional medicine focuses on finding and treating the root cause of illness or disease. It is an integrated holistic healthcare process that creates a close partnership between you and your doctor. The goal is to uncover the root causes of your condition and build a treatment plan to deliver the relief you’ve been searching for.
- Lifestyle Treatments – Lifestyle treatments involve making changes to one’s lifestyle to promote health and wellness including dietary changes, daily exercise, nutritional supplements, stress reduction techniques, and changes in an individual’s sleep patterns.
- Herbal Remedies and Dietary Supplements – Dietary supplements like omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals are used to support the body’s natural defense mechanisms. The supplements are often used to provide the body with the necessary nutrients to heal itself and stay in peak health.
Herbal formulas, such as echinacea, increase the body’s natural immunity. When immunity is naturally increased the body is better able to fight infection or prevent illness. There are herbal formulas that help alleviate pain, balance hormones, and improve biological functions throughout the body. Holistic medicine uses prescription and over the counter medicine as well as dietary supplements and herbal remedies to promote health.
- Mind and Body Therapy– There are numerous mind and body techniques used in holistic medicine such as massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, visualization, and yoga. These practices are administered by trained practitioners and are used to heal the body, mind, and spirit. When these techniques are used along with other healing methodologies, the patient will experience improved health and wellness.
- Stress Relief Techniques– Stress impacts all areas of the body and has been linked to a number of health conditions, including an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and cancer. Stress relief techniques, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, and journaling help calm the mind, relax the body, and improve the patient’s health.
- Massage Therapy and Chiropractic Care– Massage therapy and chiropractic services are typically used to bring the body into alignment and alleviate pain. Chiropractic care gently manipulates the spine into alignment so the body can function at peak performance. Massage therapy relaxes the muscles and helps rid the body of toxins.
- Acupuncture– Acupuncture was developed thousands of years ago to help bring the body into alignment, promote health, and provide relaxation. Acupuncture therapy uses fine needles placed at specific locations on the body. Acupuncture releases endorphins to relax and heal the body naturally.
How Can A Holistic Doctor Help?
Holistic medicine focuses on the whole person rather than just treating the symptoms. Holistic practitioners work with their patients to develop plans to help heal the mind, body, and soul and promote wellness. These whole-body treatment approaches help improve the patient’s overall health, alleviate stress, and diminish pain. Whether an individual is dealing with the common cold or facing a serious medical condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or menopause, holistic medicine can help in overcoming illness or preventing disease.
If you are ready to take control of your health, its time to look out for a holistic doctor. Our team of holistic medicine practitioners believe YOU are at the center of your health, and as such, your healthcare team will include you in the decision-making process each step of the way. Each team member will work to improve your overall health, reduce the risk of disease, and enhance your immune system by utilizing a whole-body approach. Call us today to experience the difference. We offer a caring and dedicated healthcare team that is skilled in the use of holistic medicine approaches for optimum healing.