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Holistic Medicine: What Does it Mean to Heal the Whole Person?

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In 2015, only about a third of Americans were seeking holistic medicine approaches. However, over these past few years, there has been an increasing interest in alternative ways to heal the body.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an ailment, you might be interested in learning more about your options. Keep reading to find out exactly what holistic medicine is!

What Does Holistic Medicine Mean?

The word “holistic” is used to describe focusing on the whole. Holistic medicine does not only focus on treating a specific issue. In addition, the goal is to treat someone emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and the physical body.

A great example is the treatment of shortness of breath. In a holistic approach, you would identify what the issue is but you would also ask other questions. Is stress, weight, muscle strength, or anything else a factor in this symptom?

In short, holistic medicine means to heal the whole person. Treating the overall well being can help cure and prevent future problems. There are 5 areas of focus when it comes to the whole health of the human body. They are as follows:

Environmental – This includes aspects outside the human body that have effects. Some examples include pollution, weather, noise, politics, war, economics, and water quality.

Nutritional – The foods we eat contribute to the nutrients that our bodies absorb. Diet is a huge factor in helping many people with issues they are facing. Of course, vitamins can also help supplement a good diet.

Emotional – This deals with mental well-being and includes feelings, beliefs, views, and values.

Physical – This aspect involves the physical body and issues that directly relate to it. This includes DNA influences, trauma, infection, or other impacts.

Spiritual – This refers to questions regarding existence.

What Are the Types of Holistic Medicine?

There are a variety of different options and each practitioner will have their own opinions. There will likely be a combination of approaches.

CAM, or complementary and alternative medicine, is a term used to describe options that are outside of standard medical care.

Complementary medicine includes options that are used in addition to standard medical treatments. For example, you may be undergoing traditional anticancer drug treatment but with the addition of acupuncture to ease side effects.

Alternative medicine treatments are often used in place of standard medical treatments. Using a strict diet to treat cancer instead of drugs would be an example.

Integrative holistic medicine is a combination of CAM and standard medical treatments. This, again, focuses on the whole body including the 5 aspects previously mentioned.

Some examples of additional CAM treatment options are:

  • chiropractics
  • diet
  • counseling
  • exercise
  • acupuncture
  • self-care
  • western herbal medications
  • lifestyle changes
  • massage therapy
  • meditation
  • yoga

There will be a variety of professionals that can help provide holistic medicine. These may be outside your normal doctors.

Holistic Medicine Versus Homeopathy

Sometimes homeopathy and holistic medicine are used interchangeably. While they are related, they are different. Homeopathy is actually a type of holistic medicine. Some examples of homeopathy are acupuncture and naturopathic medicine.

Homeopathy developed about 200 years ago in Germany. It has been popular in many European countries and recently has popped up in the United States.

This specific type of holistic medicine is seen as incredibly safe. Small children and pets are safe to be treated with homeopathy. Other great aspects include affordability, all-natural, FDA regulations, and lack of side effects.

Often made from plants and minerals, these treatments are eco-friendly and cruelty-free. For example, you may be able to cure thyroid cancer naturally.

As more research is conducted, new treatment options are being added all the time. Not only new treatments but further evidence that holistic medicine is a great addition.

What Does Holistic Medicine Treat?

Holistic medicine can be used to treat numerous conditions. The entire idea behind holistic medicine is treating the entire body. Holistic medicine can be added to any treatment plan.

This means cancer, headaches, anxiety, heart disease, and more. From chronic illnesses to simple independent symptoms, these alternative medicine options can make a true difference.

Why Choose Holistic Medicine?

Most holistic medicine approaches are very safe. In general, there are little to no side effects of these treatment options. Furthermore, if you are adding them to traditional methods of treatment, they can help you deal with some of the side effects.

Instead of only addressing the issue, holistic medicine attacks the source of the issue. Since each patient is different, it also offers a very flexible course of action.

Holistic medicine practitioners also may be better at empowering their patients. In general, you may feel like you have better control over your body. Not only in terms of getting your body to heal itself but in terms of input and effort. Furthermore, you’ll better understand what is going on with your body and why certain things happen.

In terms of prevention, an overall healthy body is the best body. You will be able to better fight off diseases and lower your risks of developing chronic illnesses. Similar to taking a car for maintenance, you lower your chances of something going wrong.

Bringing Holistic Medicine into Your Life

Now that you have the background on holistic medicine, you’re one step closer to making an informed decision about your treatment options. Not every treatment option will give you the same result. With the help of your medical professionals, you can make the best decision to heal and prevent.

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other great pieces on health, lifestyle, art, and culture!

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