Healing Holistically: Understanding Holistic Medicine

Relax in the spa Relaks w spa Fot. Robert Przybysz / FORUMHolistic medicine focuses on treatments that address the whole person, rather than treating illness or disease as an isolated incident. Any illness or disease that occurs is viewed as a dysfunction of the person as a whole. The holistic physician takes into consideration physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, spiritual, or lifestyle factors that may be contributors or causes of ill health.

Holistic medicine is focused on creating a state of optimal health. Health is considered to be much more than simply the absence of illness. Optimal health is achieved by developing a high quality of life on all levels—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

Holistic approach to illness

When disease or illness occurs, the holistic medicine approach is to search for the underlying cause of the illness, rather than only treat its symptoms with drugs or surgery, as is usually done with conventional medicine treatments.

Holistic medicine modalities used in diagnosis and treatment can include both complementary and conventional therapies. Practitioners may also incorporate recommendations for lifestyle changes. Complementary therapies such as herbal medicine, homeopathy, and acupuncture may be used as secondary care treatments. Conventional medicine secondary care treatment options may include physical therapy, drugs, and surgery.

Primary care treatments

Primary care treatments within the holistic medicine framework depend a great deal on the physician-patient relationship. The quality of the relationship is a major determinant in the healing outcome. Holistic practitioners take into consideration the needs, awareness, and insights of both themselves and their patients.

Primary care treatment options, based on this physician-patient relationship, have a main component of the practitioner adopting an attitude of unconditional love for the patient, applied to body, mind, and spirit. The holistic physician also adopts this attitude for other practitioners and themselves.

Additional primary care treatment options may include diet, exercise, attitudinal and behavioral modifications, environmental measures, and spiritual counseling. Holistic practitioners also encourage their patients to become aware of the toxic effect on health that depression, anger, prolonged fear, hostility, or grief can have. Patients are encouraged to develop the capacity for hope, enthusiasm, humor, and love as powerful healing forces.

Holistic medicine is beneficial in the treatment of both acute and chronic illnesses. Through its focus on creating a state of optimal health, it empowers patients to heal themselves through addressing the primary cause of their disease. Facilitating healthy lifestyle changes results in prevention and treatment of illness as a by-product rather than the primary concern.

Acupuncture & Massage College’s Community Clinic offers acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine for the treatment of a wide range of health conditions as well as for overall wellness. To schedule an appointment call (305) 595-9500. For information about AMC’s Oriental Medicine and Massage Therapy programs ask for Joe Calareso, Admissions Director.

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