If you asked ten people what their definition of holistic medicine was, there is a good likelihood that you would receive almost as many answers as people you asked! So, what is holistic medicine? Holistic medicine encompasses an entire realm of various forms of preventative measures and healing techniques that focus on the mind, body, and spirit as cooperative parts of the system we call “life.”
Holistic Medicine as a System of Care
At heart, and when practiced with the best intent, holistic medicine is a complete system of health care that is based on complete cooperation with everyone involved – from patients to doctors, to therapists and helpers of every level. The goal of this type of system is not to make more money for corporations that manufacture pharmaceuticals, nor is it to make insurance companies more attractive to investors.
Instead, a holistic health system of care fosters an environment of compassion and wholeness. Also, traditional and modern medical practices come together to create a system intended to create optimal health, rather than simply treat illness.
While holistic medicine was neglected for a time, it is quickly becoming a more popular system of care than those systems that are based solely on modern medicine – and that’s a great thing for everyone!
A Whole-Person Emphasis
When we talk about holistic medicine from the standpoint of a patient, and what kind of treatment options might be introduced, we see that holistic medicine takes the whole person into consideration – not just the part or parts being treated for a specific illness. Physical condition, emotional well-being, social values, nutrition and lifestyle, and even spirituality are taken into consideration. The goal is balance and complete well-being, rather than a quick fix or a specific cure.
Accepted Medical Methods
Once again, if you ask ten people what kind of methods are acceptable to holistic medical practitioners, you are likely to get ten different answers! Here are some of the most commonly used terms for popularly accepted methods.
1. Alternative Medicine – The nickname “Alternative Medicine” often refers to lesser know or less invasive techniques. These include Medical Herbalism and Acupuncture, as well as Homeopathy and Reiki. Today, these time-honored systems are becoming more popular, and some are even offered at medical centers that once focused on conventional methods of care.
2. Natural Healing -Mind body spirit healing focuses on non-invasive techniques that rely primarily on the body’s ability to heal itself. Many naturopaths combine natural healing with other methods for a whole body approach.
3. Complementary Medicine – Many conventional practitioners refer to homeopathic methods and various holistic practices as “complementary medicine” intended to supplement traditional methods.
Should You Use Holistic Medicine?
Again, the answer to this problem depends on largely on who you ask, and how severe an illness you have. Most modern medical practitioners agree that a holistic approach can be extremely helpful, in particular for people who believe that less invasive methods do work. Today it’s not unusual to encounter a conventional medical practitioner who strongly supports thinking about health from a holistic perspective.
Holistic forms of treatment have the potential to do more for you than just make you feel better. The body and mind share a close connection.
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