Holistic medicine is an ancient practice of health care that dates back thousands of years ago. To further understand holistic health, it helps exploring three of the essential elements behind the philosophy.
It takes the entire person into consideration.
Have you ever consulted a doctor of ‘standard’/traditional medicine and are left with the feeling that the whole picture of your health wasn’t being fully evaluated and taken into account in formulating a diagnosis? Western medicine often focuses on symptomatic treatment, as opposed to aiming towards determining the overall underlying causes of any given condition, which is a focus of holistic medicine.
The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) describes it this way:
“Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning the very best that is possible.”
Mind, body and spirit — these aspects of each patient are considered to be intrinsically intertwined and essential to achieving overall optimal health. Human beings are complex beings, comprised of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual elements.
It focuses on natural healing.
While holistic medicine may also incorporate treatments from mainstream forms of health care, drugs and surgery are not the first lines of defence.
These are some of the primary focuses of treatment in holistic medicine:
- Environmental measures
- Attitude and behaviour modifications
- Relationship and spiritual counselling
- Bioenergy enhancement
By definition, holistic medicine is about intentional lifestyle changes, implementing various forms of noninvasive remedies and aiming for the improvement of the flow of a person’s life-force energy, along with enhancing the body’s own ability to heal self.
Holistic health is patient-empowering.
Holistic health is a lifestyle. It doesn’t stop and start when you walk in and out of a practitioner’s office. What the patient does on a daily basis to tend to their mind, body and spirits is as important as any treatment or herbal remedies they receive.
According to the AHHA:
“[Holistic medicine] teaches patients to take responsibility for their own health, and in so doing is: cost-effective in treating both acute and chronic illness; therapeutic in preventing and treating chronic disease; essential in creating optimal health.”
Many people opt for holistic medicine because it’s a way for them to feel empowered in their own health care. They don’t have to wait for drugs which can have harmful side effects to work or potentially risky surgeries to fix them, they can take their health into their own hands by implementing more gentle yet more comprehensive measures to enhance their well-being on their own, in a slow more sustainable manner.