Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease.
Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.
Other principles of holistic medicine include the following:
- All people have innate healing powers.
- The patient is a person, not a disease.
- Healing takes a team approach involving the patient and doctor, and addresses all aspects of a person’s life using a variety of health care practices.
- Treatment involves fixing the cause of the condition, not just alleviating the symptoms.
In practice, this means that each person is seen as a unique individual, rather than an example of a particular disease. Disease is understood to be the result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental imbalance. Healing, therefore, takes place naturally when these aspects of life are brought into proper balance. The role of the practitioner is as guide, mentor and role model; the patient must do the work – changing lifestyle, beliefs and old habits in order to facilitate healing. All appropriate methods may be used, from medication to meditation.
Holistic practitioners use a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health. Depending on the practitioner’s training, these may include:
- Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness such as diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship and spiritual counseling, and more
- Therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, and others
When choosing a Holistic Practitioner, the Holistic Network of Tampa Bay, an organization made up of Holistic Practitioners in Tampa Bay, Florida, suggests the following:
- get a recommendation from someone you trust
- choose a practitioner who spends enough time with you during your initial consultation so that he or she can gain a full understanding of your needs
- be prepared to answer lots of questions, including questions about your diet, exercise, sleep habits, how you feel emotionally, close relationships, and more
Holistic medicine aims to prevent disease, promote balance, and address the root cause of imbalance. More and more people are making it their first choice for healthcare rather than their last resort.