Let’s talk about Holistic Medicine.
The term “holistic medicine” has been used a lot in recent years. But what does it really mean?
The dictionary definition of holism is “a study or method of treatment that is concerned with wholes or with complete systems”.
Holistic medicine is about treating the body as a whole with interconnected parts including the physical and mental states. The goal of the therapy is to achieve optimal health and well being as a whole rather than focusing on a specific symptom and targeting one outwardly problematic area. Holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies and uses strategies of preventive medicine. This means that all western medicine can be considered as part of holistic medicine although more often we think of alternative therapies that help to fill in the gaps that western medicine may not address.
Some of the most common types of alternative therapies include – Traditional Chinese Medicine (Acupuncture, Herbal medicine, and others), Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Diet and Nutrition, Chiropractic and Massage therapy, Essential oil therapy. Practices such as Yoga, Tai chi, Qigong, Reiki, Meditation are also tools in holistic health.
Anything that can help us with our body, mind, and spirit are all part of the practice of holistic medicine.
Many of the holistic practices have been around for hundreds and even thousands of years. Advances in western medicine have given us tremendous advantages in improving our health. However, the convenience of taking medicine to combat a specific symptom or illness may sometimes cause us to forget the root of the problems. For example – chronic headaches may be caused by stresses in daily lives, allergies or skin issues may be directed linked to diet and lifestyle choices. Chronic diseases often have roots that are deeply tied to how we live our lives. Medicine may temporarily relieve symptoms but cures or long-term improvements lie in changing some fundamental ways of how our body and mind as a whole responds within.
Using holistic modalities to treat the body as a whole promotes self-healing – and it is the best way to prevent and treat disease states.
Lily Chen, DVM, CVA