Holistic health care has created a lot of buzz in recent times. So, a lot of people in the US are adopting complementary and alternative medicine. Rather, it is becoming a healthy approach to life. Not just this, but it was always an apt option for ‘healing’ in the ancient Indian, Chinese, and Greek societies too.
It has carved many success stories in the 1920s by improving physical conditions and mental state. But in the 20th Century, Western medicine started becoming prevalent. So, how the holistic approach is different from western medicine? Let’s explore more.
What Does It Mean by Holistic Health?
Before reaching out to a holistic practitioner, a patient must understand that this healthcare involves equal participation of the patient in curing himself. The aim here is to make changes to lifestyle so that one can achieve physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Holistic healthcare isn’t about treating any particular illness or a specific body part. Rather, it looks at the prevention of diseases by analyzing a person’s lifestyle. It also takes into account how he or she interacts with the immediate surroundings. This concept embodies the connection between the body, mind, and spirit ensuring that they are perfectly healthy. With this, the care-receiver accepts more responsibility towards their well-being. Thus, making more proper choices.
And that’s why, in the urge to stay healthy, people usually focus on a wholesome lifestyle. They depend on physical exercises and diet for body care. However, such an approach, yet, does not guarantee health. A person might end up ignoring the mental and emotional well-being. Or the body might fail to realize that both body and mind are under duress.
While a mentally stressful person might overlook the physical well-being of the body. Thus, a body with pain will struggle to get adequate hours of sleep, resulting in a tired mind. That’s why the body and mind have to play a complementary role to achieve optimal health. And that’s the whole objective of holistic health!
Amidst this, holistic practitioners also play a key role. According to them, a person can achieve optimal health by maintaining a balance in life. Besides, they also believe that the body comprises of interdependent parts. If one body part is not functioning, other body parts might get affected. Such a condition creates an imbalance in the person – emotional, spiritual, or physical. Thus, hurting the health of the person. So, the doctor and the patient play a complementary role. Their joint efforts, help in a successful healing process.
What Are the Principles of Holistic Medicine?
Holistic healthcare does not depend on one line of therapy/ treatment. Rather it consists of the use of many therapies. Then it could be alternative medicines, dietary changes, or even counseling. Practitioners also involve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) defines health merely the absence of disease. Rather it is a balanced state of mind, body, and spirit. Unlike western medicine, holistic treatment looks for a solution beyond invasive cure. A practitioner uses all forms of healthcare, including spiritual counseling.
Alongside this, the treatment comprises everything from conventional medication to alternative therapies. A patient with specific problems is not prescribed medications. Rather they investigate the potential factors that might have triggered the problem. It could be diet, health problems, stress, sleeping habits, or personal issues. The treatment would involve drugs to relieve symptoms, and also some lifestyle modifications. Such a dual approach prevents the symptoms from recurring.
5 Aspects of the Patient the AHHA Analyses?
Unconditional love and support is the most potent healer for practitioners. The approach also emphasizes that it helps a person in handling his well-being and health.
Well, following are the remaining principles of holistic health:
- We all have innate healing power.
- A person is not an embodiment of the disease.
The patient must be open to making changes to his lifestyle, food habits, and other measures as suggested by the doctor. It includes every aspect of a person’s life using different health care practices.
The treatment of a condition does not alleviate the symptoms. Rather removes it from the roots. So, this approach goes into the root cause of a problem.
What Are the Types of Treatment Involved?
Holistic treatment can be a combination of therapies, and dietary changes. At times it can involve invasive procedures if required. Lifestyle changes suggested are usually for an extended period.
Practitioners use alternative medicines and therapies. The care-receiver should take responsibility for their well-being and achieve the best health. Depending on the training and expertise of the practitioner, the treatment may include the following:
- Educating the patient about lifestyle changes and self-care to improve well-being. The doctor recommends exercise, diet, psychotherapy, spiritual counseling, and much more.
- Western medicine and surgical procedures.
- Implementation of alternative and complementary therapies. Then be it Chiropractic care, Acupuncture, Massage therapy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, and others.
- For mental health, the patient might need to take up yoga and meditation.
How to Choose the Best Holistic Health Practitioner?
People must understand that there are hundreds of therapies. Also, there are newer forms and variations of therapies under this approach. This includes Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, massage therapy, Aromatherapy, herbal therapy, and Chiropractic. But before choosing your holistic healthcare provider, go through this checklist:
Do not visit any random practitioner
Research before deciding on the practitioner. Before making any decision, get recommendations from someone you can trust. You can also contact a credible health organization for advice.
Undertake some homework
You should get an idea about the experience, training, and doctor’s expertise. Check the doctor’s association with hospital and professional organizations, before visiting him. Also, check the practitioner’s certification in holistic medicine. Evaluate whether he/she has acquired the certification from a credible medical board. Also, the line of treatment or alternative therapy should match the patient’s views.
The doctor should be a good listener
Ensure that the doctor is taking enough time to understand your problems. Furthermore, offering a proper solution.
The provider should offer you alternative options. Check if the wellness plan goes beyond pills. Make sure that the practitioner examines all the lifestyle factors. Especially the ones that contribute to your illness.
Why Holistic Healthcare Has Become So Popular?
Reports state that many are using complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in America. Rather a study highlights that about 40 percent of Americans have opted for CAM. While it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of any treatment. Yet, the growing popularity could be beyond the effectiveness of treatment.
- This brand of healthcare does not ignore allopathic treatment. Rather AHHA prescribes integrative use of allopathic medicine and alternative approaches. That involves the best of both methods.
- It might be cost-effective than invasive surgeries. It is also less painful.
- Holistic treatment is safe. Yet, one cannot guarantee that all herbs used are safe.
- A patient has the option to try many therapies or treatments.
- A patient has the option to try many therapies or treatments.
More people are likely to embrace holistic healthcare in the coming years. Besides, AHHA and other associations are striving hard to make it more popular. They are also trying to develop local centers. Critiques of alternative therapies argue that naturopathy “doctors” might not be “trained” enough. Also, therapy might not be complementary to another line of treatment.
But a lot remains “unproven.” Besides, AHHA does not recommend to ignore or abandon western medicines. Instead, patients must make their choice after doing enough research.
Aparajita loves to write on various issues, including mental and lifestyle concerns. She began her career as a political writer and has spent 11 years working for different industries and platforms creating customized content. An avid researcher and observer, she loves to interact with people and learn things about them, their culture, food habits and more. She believes awareness about various physical and mental issues should be spread so that people can discuss their issues openly and work together to find a cure.