Holistic medicine, also known as integrative or alternative medicine, uses a set of practices, techniques, and therapies to naturally treat and heal patients. Most people have probably experienced holistic practices at some point without even realizing it. Let’s take a step back and find out what are holistic practices?
What is Holistic Medicine?
Holistic medicine is a healing practice that focuses on body, mind, spirit, and emotions to achieve health and wellness. Holistic medicine centers around the world help patients create balance in their lives. Practitioners believe that the whole body is made of interdependent parts. If one part isn’t performing correctly, everything else is affected.
Holistic medicine practitioners may use a combination of conventional medicine and alternative therapies in treatment. A doctor may prescribe medicine to relieve symptoms but also consider the factors that could be causing a certain health issue. From there lifestyle changes may be explored to treat the underlying cause.
The Principles of Holistic Practices
One of the core beliefs of holistic medicine is that a person is responsible for their own well-being. There are several principles behind holistic practices. Doctors use a variety of options when diagnosing and treating patients including lifestyle education, self-care, alternative treatments, and traditional medicine. Holistic practitioners see illness as the manifestation of a dysfunction of the entire self, not just a singular issue. For this reason, determining the underlying causes of a medical issue is just as important as treating the symptoms.
As with traditional medicine, preventing the diagnosis of a health issue is a priority in holistic medicine. Remember, a person is responsible for their own well-being, therefore identifying potential risk factors that can escalate and require treatment is the goal. Preventative measures in holistic practices mean being in touch with and pursuing the highest qualities of mind, body, soul, and spirit.
Another principle of holistic practices is having a strong relationship between physician and patient. Since physicians influence patients by example, it’s important to have a relationship that considers and respects the needs, desires, understanding, and insight of the physician and the patient.
Types of Holistic Treatments
There are a variety of holistic treatments and techniques that holistic practitioners use to help patients take charge of their well-being and overall health. Physicians may educate patients about lifestyle changes and self-care through diet, exercise, psychotherapy, and counseling. Western medicine and surgical practices may also be used when appropriate. There are many complementary and alternative therapies that fall under holistic practices, such as acupuncture, Ayurveda, homeopathy, and Oriental practices.
It’s thought that the body can be healed in part through touch. Manual manipulation of an injured or ill area of the body can positively affect other parts to restore health and allow the body to focus on repairing the injury or illness. Common body therapies include chiropractic medicine, massage, body movement therapies, tai chi, and yoga.
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Diet and nutrition play a vital role in overall health and well-being. Both nutritional excess and deficiency can lead to chronic diseases. Holistic practitioners may encourage a dietary and herbal approach to balance the body including dietary supplements, herbal medicine, and revised diet and nutrition.
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