What is the meaning of Holistic Medicine?
I always thought it was something a bit weird and an alternative medicine which was not really for me.
But then I saw the holistic medicine definition from The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine and it really opened my eyes.
It describes holistic healing methods as “the art and science of healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit.”
In other words, it doesn’t just focus on your physical health. I thought that was certainly worth thinking about……don’t you?
According to the practice, our health and well-being is the result of the interaction between physical, environmental, emotional, and psychological aspects of the person’s life.
So, what makes holistic medicine different is its integrative approach to health?
In essence, it uses alternative as well as conventional medicine and studies all aspects of a person’s life.
That got my attention straight away as I am not into taking drugs unless it is totally necessary and there is no other alternative.
The goal with holistic healing methods is to achieve holistic health, an “unlimited and unimpeded free flow of life force energy through body, mind, and spirit.”
Here’s how WebMD describes the four key principles of holistic medicine:
1. Types of Holistic Medicine: The patient’s innate healing powers.
Holistic medicine teaches that the body that it has an innate capacity to heal itself.
For this reason, it wants to promote and encourage this naturally occurring healing by using different treatments and methods.
In addition, it believes that the best way to maintaining good health is by preventing illnesses in the first place. Pretty hard to disagree with that school of thought.
This is not just better for your body, but it is also very cost-effective.
Adopting good eating and exercise habits to improve wellness and prevent diseases is far less taxing on the body than overcoming an illness.
To nurture the body’s capacity to heal itself, holistic medicine seeks to promote overall health instead of just treating a set of symptoms.
In this case, good health goes beyond the absence of illness.
It aims at achieving the best possible quality of life in the physical, emotional, mental, and social aspects.
2. Holistic Healing Methods: There is more to the patient than a disease.
For holistic medicine, illness is the result of an imbalance or dysfunction of the individual.
In addition, one way to treat this imbalance is to change the effects of negative emotions, experiences, habits, and memories.
In other words, a holistic physician encourages patients to explore the effects of emotions and experiences on their health and to unburden themselves of harmful emotions and thoughts.
Consequently, positive emotions and feelings like love, enthusiasm, and hope may help to restore the balance and bring the patient closer to well-being.
So in this case, a disease is an opportunity for patients to learn more and improve themselves. Moreover, for physicians, each patient is a new opportunity to practice unconditional love and guide a person in their unique path towards wellness.
Hard to accept for a lot of people but it does work as long as you are willing to try.
3. Holistic Healing takes a team approach.
An important part of the physician’s job is to educate and empower each patient so that they can make informed decisions about their health and treatments.
Education is an important task for the physician.
To promote wellness, the patient needs to incorporate healthful habits under the guidance and encouragement from the doctor.
For example, the physician may guide the patient towards adopting a healthier diet, incorporating exercise, or seeking counselling.
The patient and physician work as a team to restore well-being.
So evidently, the relationship between patient and doctor is supportive and collaborative. In this ideal relationship, the physician listens and respects the patients’ needs, opinions, and insights.
And the patient is not a passive agent in her/his own health. Instead, she is encouraged to make her own decisions.
Another important aspect of a positive doctor-patient relationship in holistic medicine is the use of different treatments. Especially the types of treatments you may be used to in the standard type of medical treatment.
For some people, holistic medicine is not different from homeopathy or naturopathy but there certainly is a big difference.
Holistic medicine may use natural treatments if the patient could potentially benefit from them, but it also uses conventional medicine and treatments as well.
The inclusion of a broader range of evidence-based therapies that offer different benefits helps the patient get more comprehensive care.
4. Holistic Healing Methods – Fixing the causes of disease and not just the symptoms.
The integral approach of holistic medicine to well-being allows it to go deeper into the health problems of the patient, well beyond the physical symptoms of one illness.
Getting to the root of the issue also ensures the patient may find long-term health and prevents more episodes of the illness in the future.
Having had a reasonably long and healthy life to date I have always had a leaning towards solving my health issues the most natural way possible.
Good food and plenty of regular exercise solve a multitude of health problems but, every now and again things get on top of you and you need to see a doctor.
So next time you ask, “what is a holistic doctor?” maybe you might like to try one and see what they have to offer.
Cheers – John – your Active Ageing Mentor and Coach.
P.S. I would love to hear from anyone who uses the services of a holistic doctor and how it has helped with your health problems. Thanks.