What is Holistic Medicine? In this article we provide a simple explanation along with why we believe holistic therapies are gaining more favor in the modern world. We also look at why many people are turning to alternative therapists by looking at the 7 Key Benefits of Holistic Doctors.
The modern world is seemingly obsessed with advances. Advances in medicine, advances in drugs, advances in tools and advances in our knowledge. However that doesn’t mean that the practices and methods used by our ancestors do not still have value.
In fact today, many people are choosing to find out more, and take advantage of, all that holistic therapies have to offer in the modern world.
Understanding Holistic Therapy.
Before we begin discussing individual therapies and treatments as well as their unique benefits for health, we first need to reference some common, and commonly misused, terminology.
Most of us have a general understanding of what is meant by holistic therapies, other readers may have a great deal more knowledge and some no understanding whatsoever.
Holistic medicine refers to a multitude of modalities and treatments. What is common amongst them all is the focus on the whole person.
Holistic therapists focus on the patient’s overall state of health rather than just their symptoms or a specific illness.
They do this by focusing on the state of health of the patients mind, body, spirit and lifestyle.
Holistics does not exclude any form of therapy. The Holistic Doctor will always aim to provide a balanced healthcare regime.
They will look at the patients current treatment plan, and then work with them to put together holistic treatments that take into account aspects of their life that may be out of balance.
The goal is to formulate a plan that combines conventional medical practices as well as other complementary forms of alternative therapy that provides a balanced approach to healthcare.
What Is Holistic Medicine and How Do Holistic Therapies Differ?
To understand the difference consider this. Imagine you need to visit your doctor because your leg is crippled by pain.
Typically, the doctor will perform a basic examination, they may perform a couple of tests, ask questions to find out how you damaged it and then will prescribe you some medication for the pain.
In comparison, a holistic doctor conducts a much broader evaluation of your overall health.
They will discuss your physical state of health, investigate your diet, look at how well you sleep, investigate your current emotional and mental state and will include into the conversation questions related to your beliefs, including those of a spiritual nature.
This is the major difference. Rather than just treating your symptoms, the holistic doctor will try to understand, or diagnose, the cause and how treatment may alleviate symptoms and also treat the root cause of the problem.
When choosing treatment options, there are many that may be prescribed by your holistic practitioner. This might include:
- Essential Oils and Aromatherapy;
- Energy Healing, such as Reiki;
- Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Medicines;
- Body Control, such as Biofeedback;
- Massage or Therapeutic touch;
- The Multitude of Mind and Body Practices, such as meditation, yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
The 7 Key Benefits Of Holistic Doctors. What Is Holistic Medicine?
1. Beliefs In Human Healing And Combination Of Approach
Holistic doctors will advocate a combination of conventional medical options and the complementary alternatives. Holistic doctors aim to provide therapies that treat the health needs of the whole patient.
Doctors who have a holistic approach to healthcare offer you a truly individualized treatment plan and one that best meets your health requirements.
Holistic practitioners hold the belief that:
- Humans all have innate healing abilities;
- The patient needs to be viewed as more than a set of symptoms of illness, they are a person and their symptoms relate to an underlying cause;
- Effective healing, that is long lasting, requires a combined approach which includes the patient, the doctor, therapists, family and important others.
- Holistic treatment is based on the belief that we must target the root cause of the condition, and not just treat the displaying symptoms.
2. Holistic Doctors Have A Whole Person Focus.
Holistic medicinal principles focus on balance. They believe that if one aspect of a person’s life is not balanced, then this impacts every other aspect of their life.
For example, if the patient is experiencing a time of stress this will be seen in their emotional state, their psychological state and be displayed as physical health symptoms.
Ultimately, the goal is to achieve balance in all aspects of the patient’s life. When balance is achieved we also achieve overall wellness of the whole person.
3. Holistic Practitioners Get To Know Their Patient.
The most significant benefit of seeking treatment from a holistic doctor is the amount of time they spend with the patient.
They focus a massive amount of time and attention on you, getting to understand you, getting to know your individual therapeutic needs and understanding areas of your life that require balance.
4. Seeking Alternative Medical Options.
Holistic doctors will use both holistic and conventional medical options, whatever it is that will achieve balanced wellness within the patient.
This enables them to focus on their patient and provide a range of treatment options. This approach is likely to be limited to purely modern practice if you are receiving care from an allopathic medical physician.
5. Non Medicinal Options For Pain Relief.
Holistic treatments can often provide non pharmacological methods for pain relief by using natural methods, with no side effects, such as meditation or therapeutic massage.
Examples of holistic pain relief includes acupuncture, therapeutic massage, hypnotherapy, hypnosis, meditation and biofeedback.
6. Methods Of Preventative Care.
Holistic doctors focus on preventative care. This focus seeks to treat the cause not the symptoms.
It also focuses on your current life practices, and identifying changes that can be made which are likely to prevent health problems in the future.
This approach reduces the risk of developing chronic illness later in life.
7. Approach Includes Mindfulness.
Holistic doctors will help patients to gain comfort through mindfulness techniques. This technique teaches patients to connect their mind with their body and how they can be present in the moment.
This approach has been shown to have positive impact on patients stress levels, their immune system and their spiritual wellness.
What Is Holistic Medicine? 2 Common Myths.
Myth 1: It’s All Herbs And Homemade Remedies
The number 1 Holistic Myth that needs to be shattered is the belief that practitioners are anti pharmacalogical and advocate replacing conventional mainstream medical treatment with herbal tea, incense and the laying on of hands.
While most Holistic doctors and practitioners would likely claim preference for natural forms of medication and supplements, the notion of being anti prescribed medication is nonsense.
It is in fact the complete opposite.
Holistic practitioners advocate a partnership between modern medicine and holistic medicine. They do this to add value to a person’s current medical provision.
Holistic practitioners first seek to understand what current medical treatment is in place.
They will always advice the person of the importance of continuing treatment from their medical clinician and then begin the process of developing a complementary holistic therapeutic regime.
Anything that the holistic doctor or therapist recommends is with the intention of adding value to the individuals current treatment and supports the work and practice of any medical practitioners already involved.
Often the Holistic practitioner is the first person approached by individuals who may have no medical history or current treatments.
In this case should any medical concerns come to light during their time with the client the holistic practitioner is obliged to ensure they recommend the individual attends a medical screening.
Myth 2 – Holistic, Alternative and Complementary – They’re All The Same!
So What Is Holistic Medicine?
A good friend of mine once said to me when we were chatting that the problem with ‘us naturopath types is we confuse people with our holistics, alternatives and complementary therapies and as they’re all the same why do why make life difficult.”
In that one statement not only did he manage to confuse a therapy with a health system and two opposing methodologies but he also learnt if you ask me a deliberately provocative question then I will most certainly offer you an answer and any notion of us “naturopath types” being all love, light and peacefully forgiving was also wrong.
He now knows what the difference is and I doubt will be confused about it again.
All joking aside it is a fairly regular and common confusion and this we can lay blame with the medical fraternity.
Not because of any malice but simply as time passes each generation of experts can’t decide what they want included in their camp and what they don’t.
We need remember not so long ago the notion of psychology or mental health was laughed at and the practitioners were mocked for believing such things could be viewed as medical.
Today those therapies that historically were viewed as alternative have now been accepted within modern medicine. In fact now many patients are recommended by their doctor to consider such things as hypnotherapy and meditation.
So to deal with Myth 2 let’s look at what is holistic medicine, what we alredy know and put it in perspective:
- A Naturopath is a therapist who practices a specific therapy. This therapy could be included as part of a Holistic Regime.
- Holistic practice is a conceptual theory, a mind set and a belief system which advocates the treatment of the whole person not just the disease.
- Holistic practitioners promote modern medical practices and medication, with a preference for natural health and products.
- Any holistic therapy recommended adds value, it does not replace any medical advice or treatment already being provided.
This leaves us with Complementary and Alternative therapies and treatments.
Today it would be fair to say that there is very little to differentiate between which therapy should sit within within each, and I suspect many therapies are advertised as either or both.
I also suspect the majority of therapists would be happy to use either or both titles or at least would not be overly offended if branded with their least favoured of the two.
Isn’t it odd that a therapist wouldn’t object to which label was placed on their therapy?What Is Holistic Medicine?
We are talking about practitioners who take their chosen therapeutic service extremely seriously, ensuring the public continue to have the choice to access natural medicine all the while lobbying to gain influence on wider society in the hope of finally being recognised as a valued and integral part of the medical profession.
I hazard a guess that most therapists also recognise that the labels Alternative and Complementary in today’s society are accepted as one and the same.
If used it simply comes down to the preference of each therapist to label themselves. As a consumer we wouldn’t book an alternative therapist simply based on that title alone because we would not know what therapy was being offered.
You would, I believe, book a crystal healer who was listed under either alternative or complementary headings because you wanted to have crystal healing therapy.
Probably the only time Alternative or Complementary is used as a reference or starting position when you look in the phone book or online.
The reality is these titles were created decades ago and assigned to specific therapies dependent on the current mood of the medical establishment.
- Labelled Complementary – your therapy was accepted as possibly being acceptable to a person’s health and therefore considered as complementary to, or complementing of, the modern medicine of the time.
- Labelled Alternative – your therapy was exactly that. In the eyes of modern medicine your treatment was not considered as acceptable to modern practice. Individuals who wished to consider your therapy were told they could choose Modern Medicine or the Alternative.
Thankfully these terms are no longer used in this manner and are I imagine the true meanings are likely unknown or at least forgotten by most.
Today within surgeries or hospitals or other medical facilities, as is befitting to our topic of discussion, the NHS and other private facilities have a recognised practice of offering to patients and their families guidance and in some cases a booklet either on release from hospital or following a course of treatment.
This guidance and booklet inform of the need to look globally at their health, the importance of gaining balance and the need to have rest, take time to relax and contemplate.
There are also references to other useful resource for better health. The title? CAT, a guide to Complementary and Alternative Therapies.
Keep Healthy All!