Holistic medicine is an alternative approach to modern-day medicine that integrates multiple aspects of being, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components. This type of medicine has been around for centuries and aims to identify and treat medical conditions at their root cause.
Unlike modern medical practices that treat the symptoms of health conditions or focus on specific elements of diseases, holistic medicine looks at the body as a whole. It takes a birdseye view of a medical condition to address all aspects of health while treating the condition effectively.
In this article, we’re going to explore holistic medicine and discuss what it is, its key principles, and its benefits.
What is Holistic Medicine?
We’ve briefly mentioned what holistic medicine is but let’s go into further detail about this integrative medical approach.
Holistic medicine considers the person as a whole instead of focusing solely on individual body systems or symptoms of a disease. It considers a person’s physical being, mental health, and spirituality to ensure optimal health in every aspect.
Trained holistic medicine practitioners won’t focus on single symptoms or manifestations of disease. Instead, they will look at each patient as a whole to identify the root causes of these diseases and symptoms.
Unlike modern-day medicine, which searches for physiological, environmental, or genetic causes of disease and treats each component separately, holistic medicine understands that any aspect of being (whether physical, emotional, or spiritual) can contribute to disease.
Holistic medical practices aim to promote great overall health and balance in life. They differ from natural medicine practices in that they may incorporate both natural remedies like herbs and acupuncture, as well as conventional treatments like synthetic medications, such as antibiotics like doxycycline.
What Are the Key Principles of Holistic Medicine?
There are several key principles that underpin holistic medicine practices, including the following.
The mind-body connection
Holistic medicine acknowledges that the mind and body are closely connected and can influence one another. It accepts that mental well-being can influence physical health and vice versa, which is why its practices incorporate features that contribute to better emotional and physical balance.
Holistic medicine offers personalised care that is tailored to each individual’s needs. Practitioners in the holistic medicine space learn about their patients in great detail to ensure they can provide fully customised care that meets their individual needs.
Practitioners understand that each patient has unique circumstances, lifestyles, and preferences. They aim to integrate these unique aspects of a patient’s life into their treatment plan and understand that what works for one person may be ineffective for another.
Integration of multiple therapies
Holistic medicine integrates multiple types of therapies and brings them together seamlessly to ensure the best patient care and therapeutic outcomes. Therapies might include acupuncture, herbal remedies, massage therapy, and counselling or verbal therapies.
Each of these therapies can contribute to the improvement of a patient’s physical, emotional, or spiritual health. Holistic medicine practitioners will work closely with patients to determine which therapies are the most suitable for them.
Prevention instead of treatment
Many holistic medicine practices focus on the prevention of diseases and illnesses, as opposed to the treatment of symptoms after they’ve already appeared. It takes a preventative approach by addressing potential imbalances in the body and mitigating risk factors as much as possible.
What Are the Benefits of Holistic Medicine?
Holistic medicine offers a number of benefits over conventional medical practices, including the following.
It treats the root causes of diseases and illnesses
Holistic medical practitioners aim to identify the root cause of a disease before creating a personalised treatment plan for their patients. Instead of simply treating symptoms, they aim to target medical issues at their root for sustainable, optimal outcomes.
It causes fewer side effects than conventional medicine
Holistic therapies are less likely to cause side effects than conventional treatments like medications and surgeries, making them more appropriate for those who tend to react badly to certain medications or experience adverse reactions to drugs.
It can be used alongside conventional medicine
Many holistic health practices are suitable for use alongside conventional medical treatments and can complement them to improve patient health. The use of integrative holistic and conventional practices provides comprehensive care for patients that address a range of complex health issues.
It empowers the patient
Holistic medicine treats every patient as an individual, acknowledging that their physical body, mental state, and emotions are all important factors in their overall health. It enables patients to take their health into their own hands and have a say in their treatment plans, empowering them to make positive life choices to optimise their health as much as possible.