Whether you know it as holistic, alternative, or complementary medicine, holistic healing is an approach to healing and health that considers the whole person when developing treatments for disease. This includes the mind, body, spirit, and emotions. This approach is outside of traditional medicine, as holistic healing focuses on treatments that use methods other than drugs and surgery – although surgery is still used in some cases.
While holistic healing is still not mainstream by any means, a recent survey conducted on 30,000 adults and children by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed that approximately 40% of adults and 12% of children have added some type of holistic medicine to their life. The reason for this? The considerable benefits of holistic methods.
Treatment of the Whole Person
Unlike traditional medicine which looks at each disease or illness as something separate from the suffering person, holistic medicine focuses on the health of the entire person. The treatments are chosen for their ability to address the physical body, as well as the spiritual and emotional health of the patient to ensure that each system is working at its best and is therefore able to heal itself.
One of the most significant aspects of holistic healing when compared to traditional medicine is the overall approach to treatment. Rather than looking at each symptom and treating it, the holistic approach attempts to discover the actual cause of the symptom to determine the best ways to treat and heal the body.
Prevention Is Key
Holistic healing starts with prevention. Rather than waiting for an illness to manifest, and then beginning the treatment process, patients generally undergo well or wellness visits. These visits are used to discuss lifestyle changes that can promote better health, and treatments that may be used that are focused on preventing specific illnesses. Patients who are already suffering from an illness also receive treatment during these visits, and work with the practitioner to determine if there are other changes or treatments that can help.
The nature of holistic healing lies in understanding all aspects of the person’s physical, spiritual, and emotional health. As a result, practitioners place a great deal of importance on each individual patient and spending the time needed for one-on-one interaction. This allows each patient to spend as much time as he or she needs for each visit, rather than the processes seen in traditional medicine where each patient is pushed through every appointment as quickly as possible.
Holistic practitioners work to create an actual relationship with each patient. This allows both parties to work together more efficiently and helps form a layer of trust and consideration that just isn’t available with traditional medicine.
The overarching goal of holistic healing is to promote balance throughout the entire person. The therapies and treatment methods are all designed to have positive effects on each aspect of the person’s health, rather than only on the problematic symptom. By creating this balance, the body is able to naturally heal itself, and maintain optimal health.