What Is Holistic Medicine?
Holistic medicine is an area of medicine that considers the body, mind, spirit, and emotions to in seeking optimal health and wellness. By balancing these aspects of life, practitioners of holistic medicine believe that one can achieve optimal wellness.
Let’s say you have a migraine that just won’t go away. If you visit a holistic physician, they will likely take a look at everything that could be contributing to the cause of your headaches, such as other health problems, diet, sleep habits, stress, personal problems, and preferred spiritual practices.
Which Physicians Practice Holistic Medicine?
The practitioners of holistic medicine include medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, and homeopathic doctors.
Holistic physicians uphold key principles, including that:
- Everyone has the power to heal within them.
- You are a person, and not your disease.
- It takes a team approach to heal effectively, and must address all aspects of life.
- Treatment needs to fix the cause of the problem, not cover it up.
What Do Holistic Medical Treatments Include?
The basis of holistic medicine puts emphasis on patients being able to take responsibility for their own well-being and address health issues using natural procedures. A holistic physician may use all forms of health care to treat a patient. If absolutely necessary, a treatment plan may involve drugs to relieve symptoms, but the focus is placed on lifestyle modifications. Depending on the holistic physician and their expertise, these treatments can include:
- Educating patients on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness, including diet, exercise, psychotherapy, counseling, and other treatments.
- Other therapies, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy, and more, to complement existing wellness programs.
- Surgical procedures, but only if necessary.
Holistic medicine is closely related, but not quite the same, as other areas of medicine including integrative medicine, alternative medicine, and functional medicine. Homeopathy, a type of holistic medicine, uses natural sources such as plants to treat conditions. When used directly, these remedies are completely safe for everyone, including pregnant and nursing women, infants, children, and adults. Because they are given in such small doses, they don’t cause any side effects.