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Holistic Medicine

"One must practice balance of a whole person?s interdependent parts on a daily basi"
By: James BarramedaHolistic Medicine

“A person is ultimately responsible for his or her own health and well-being.”

This is one of the basic principles of holistic medicine, a type of approach to patient care that dates as far back as Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. This ancient method may have lost its following over the last few decades due to the invention of more advanced and sophisticated drugs, but today many medical practitioners are looking back into this approach and are re-evaluating it’s efficacy.

Holistic Medicine Defined

Holistic medicine is a type or form of treatment that considers all aspects of a person – his body, his emotions, his mind, and his spirit – in the attempt to achieve optimal health and overall wellness.

To reach this ultimate goal, one must practice balance of a whole person’s interdependent parts on a daily basis. This requires discipline and a religious fervor for a healthy lifestyle – eating healthy, meditation, having a peaceful mindset and optimistic attitude.

Holistic medicine practitioners believe that if there is an imbalance in a person’s physical, emotional, social, psychological or spiritual realm, it can have a detrimental effect on his overall health. If a person, for example, suffers from migraine, a holistic doctor would investigate about other aspects of the patient’s life and figure out what may have caused the headaches. The holistic doctor would check his sleeping habits, his diet, stress levels, other existing medical conditions or probably even personal problems. The treatment plan for conditions such as migraine may include a combination of conventional (e.g. prescription drugs) and alternative (e.g. acupuncture, massage) therapies.

Principles of Holistic Medicine

Apart from us being ultimately responsible for our own well being, there are other principles that set holistic medicine apart from other types of treatment:

We all have innate healing powers – this means you don’t have to rely on an army of doctors and a truckload of drugs to rid yourself of disease. Many holistic medicine practitioners believe that the power of the mind can be strong enough to speed up or alter your bodily systems. Stress, for example, by itself can cause hormonal imbalances and digestive system problems – this means that practicing the opposite (relaxation and having a positive outlook) can help your body revert to normalcy.

The patient is not a disease, it’s a person – many traditional health practitioners become so desensitized with handling medical cases that they just focus on each patient’s diagnosis and the corresponding treatment rather than the welfare of the person who is seeking medical help. A patient is a complex human being governed by many facets – his relationships, his dreams and aspirations, his beliefs and religion…he is not just an “acute intestinal nephritis” in room 123.

One must fix the cause of the condition, not just the symptoms – popping an aspirin, for example, may alleviate a headache temporarily but unless the cause of the headache is addressed, the pain may return after the drug wears off.

Support from loved ones is the most powerful healer – changing one’s lifestyle for the better requires tremendous amount of discipline and self-restraint. Surrounding yourself with supportive family members and friends will make the journey easier and increases your chances of succeeding.

Holistic Treatments

If you visit a holistic medicine clinic or center, your doctor will most likely spend more time with you in consultation, to help find “the story behind the story”. During your conversation, he will most likely ask questions that are not normally asked by a traditional doctor. Example of which includes:

  •  Why have you decided to consult?
  • What do you think is the problem?
  • What do you fear may be the problem?
  • What do you hope to achieve from the consultation?

The answers to these questions  may help the doctor better understand other factors that may have been causing the physical symptom the patient is experiencing. This is why a good holistic doctor must possess good communication and listening skills in order to better help the patient.

Once the doctor has determined the problem, he may prescribe one or a combination of the following treatments:

  • Western medication
  •  Herbal medicine
  • Surgical procedures
  • Restricted diet
  • Exercise
  • Psychotherapy
  • Spiritual or relationship counseling
  • Homeopathy
  • Massage therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Meditation
  • Chiropractic care

The recognition of a patient’s physical ailment as just a manifestation caused by several aspects of his life is why many feel that holistic medicine is the more effective approach. Many feel satisfied with the fact that holistic doctors spend more time understanding who they are as a whole rather than seeing them as symptoms of a disease.

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