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Holistic Medicine: A Comprehensive Approach to Healing Mind and Body

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Although many people swear by the wonders of holistic medicine when treating diseases, praising the technique as a perfect alternative to modern medicine, holistic medicine has been around for much longer than we thought.

Today, holistic medicine is a good way to improve health, not just physically but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Learn about holistic medicine for total wellness and discover its benefits and drawbacks in healing the mind and body.


Harnessing the Potential of Holistic Medicine for Total Wellness

What is Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine is a full-body healthcare approach that aims to improve overall health and wellness. By prioritizing individuality in healthcare, it personalizes a combination of alternative therapies, complementary medicines, and plant-based remedies to boost the body’s natural healing ability.

While relieving symptoms is the primary goal of modern medicine, holistic medicine puts all health aspects of a person, including their mind, body, spirit, and emotions, into perspective. They believe gaining balance in the mentioned areas is vital for optimal health.


The Principles of Holistic Medicine


Holistic medicine is human-centered, founded on the connection between the body and mind. This connection is important to the point that one being unwell can adversely affect the other, causing a slew of disruptions in the body.

For example, a person may have an upset stomach if they are under a lot of stress. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic inflammation and serious conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), interfering with daily life in the long term.

The principles of holistic medicine are as follows:

  • A person is not defined by their condition.
  • All people are responsible for their own health.
  • All people have the inborn ability to heal themselves.
  • Treating a whole person, not a specific disease or symptoms.
  • It accentuates the interconnectedness of all aspects of health, including body, mind, spirit, and emotions.
  • Overall health consists of physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wellness.
  • The goal is to treat the underlying causes besides alleviating symptoms.
  • The relationship between practitioners and patients determines the outcomes.
  • Preventions come first and treatments follow.
  • Holistic practitioners work closely with patients to better understand the situation and offer appropriate treatment plans.


How Holistic Medicine Works

Modern or Western medicine uses synthetic drugs to treat diseases, whereas holistic medicine incorporates various techniques to help a person feel better by looking into the root causes of the problem they are experiencing.

Unlike modern medicine, which mitigates discomfort within a few days, the healing process isn’t overnight with holistic medicine. It could take weeks, months, or even years to see the improvements when using holistic treatment. However, the impact of this healthcare approach on health is long-lasting when patients continue to practice wise lifestyle choices and have annual medical checkups.

For example, when a person has headaches for a long time, the diagnosis of modern medicine goes the same for everyone. It means checking in with the doctor, having an examination, receiving a prescription, and probably hoping for the best. Although this method has been proven to work for decades, it may cause recurrence when the patient becomes resistant to the drugs.

In holistic medicine, the physician may look into all potential factors behind the development of the issue besides resolving the symptoms. Things like diets, lifestyle, personal issues, and environmental exposure will be factored into the diagnosis. It helps the physician to map out an appropriate treatment plan for the patient, including prescriptions and modifications to prevent headaches from returning.


Benefits & Drawbacks of Holistic Medicine


Like other healthcare approaches, holistic medicine has pros and cons, as what works for others may not work for everyone.


The Benefits of Holistic Medicine

  • Holistic medicine aims to improve health as a whole. The practice focuses on healing a person’s physical, mental, emotional, and social health.
  • Holistic medicine is versatile. It can treat a range of ailments and chronic conditions, such as insomnia, anxiety, stress, headache, back pain, skin disease, high blood pressure, fatigue, and addiction.
  • Holistic medicine empowers patients by giving them authority over their overall health. Patients are allowed to seek tools and techniques that work best in their favor in terms of health. For example, a person with chronic back pain may not benefit from mild to moderate exercise, so they may have to choose something that fits their physical capacity.
  • Holistic medicine has fewer side effects as it uses natural, plant-based, and herbal medicines as a part of treatment. However, it may largely depend on a person’s health, supplement regimen, and tolerance.
  • Holistic practitioners take time to dive deeper into patients’ medical history. This allows them to carefully designate a treatment plan and suggest personalized care approaches supporting a patient’s journey to achieve optimal health.
  • By merging the quintessence of holistic and mainstream treatments, holistic medicine can meet each patient’s needs and requirements based on science and holistic values.
  • The main goal of holistic medicine is to help patients regain balance, achieve peak performance, and feel energized from within instead of masking the pain like modern medicine, which only causes drug resistance.


The Drawbacks of Holistic Medicine

  • Holistic medicine is considered a team treatment. It means the treatment only works when the patient is willing to make necessary changes. Otherwise, no desired results will be achieved in the long term.
  • The lack of insurance coverage makes holistic medicine unlikely an option for most people when seeking relief. Although holistic medicine is less expensive than modern treatments, some patients may struggle to cover the cost, especially if they have spent all their money on conventional treatment earlier.


Types of Holistic Medicine

In simple terms, the main idea of holistic medicine can be understood as improving a person from within by encouraging their self-healing. It is believed to have the potential to compensate for shortcomings in modern medicine, allowing people to seek harmony and support their overall health with the following techniques:

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) are non-mainstream practices that have been scientifically safe and effective in treating a range of conditions.

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Aromatherapy
  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Body movement therapies
  • Biomolecular medicine
  • Chinese or Oriental medicine
  • Chiropractic care
  • Electromagnetic therapy
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Hypnosis
  • Manual medicine
  • Massage therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Naturopathy
  • Osteopathy
  • Reiki
  • Reflexology
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychotherapy


Lifestyle Modification and Education introduce patients to the importance of healthy living. Patients can make much-needed modifications and self-care techniques to fix bad habits and improve overall quality of life.

  • Changing diets
  • Exercising regularly
  • Taking dietary supplements
  • Limiting certain drinks and foods
  • Having regular health screenings
  • Doing yoga or Tai chi
  • Practicing mindfulness or meditation
  • Joining support groups or communities
  • Doing self-massage
  • Trying nutrition counseling
  • Trying relationship and spiritual counseling
  • Trying mental health counseling


Traditional Treatments are recruited when needed following the recommendation of holistic practitioners.

  • Prescription drugs
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
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