Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person. That is, instead of treating the patient’s symptoms (as in orthodox ‘allopathic‘ or ‘conventional‘ medicine) holistic medicine looks at their overall physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional state before recommending treatment. A practitioner with a holistic approach treats the symptoms of illness as well as looking for the underlying cause of the illness.
Holistic medicine also attempts to prevent illness by placing a greater emphasis on optimizing health. The body’s systems are seen as interdependent parts of the person’s whole being. Its natural state is one of health, and an illness or disease is an imbalance in the body’s systems. There are a number of therapies that are holistic in nature. These include homoeopathic, naturopathic, herbal, Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. The practice of holistic medicine does not rule out the practice of allopathic medicine; the two can complement each other, hence the popularity of the term ‘complementary’ medicine.
There are no limits to the range of diseases and disorders that can be treated in a holistic way, as the principle of holistic healing is to balance the body, mind, spirit, and emotions so that the person’s whole being functions smoothly. When an individual seeks holistic treatment for a particular illness or condition, other health problems improve without direct treatment, due to improvement in the performance of the immune system, which is one of the goals of holistic medicine.
The aim of holistic medicine is to bring all areas of an individual’s life, and most particularly the energy flowing through the body, back into harmony. Ultimately, of course, only the patient can be responsible for this, for no practitioner can make the necessary adjustments to diet and lifestyle to achieve health.
A properly balanced holistic health regime, which takes into consideration all aspects of human health and includes noninvasive and nonpharmaceutical healing methods, can often completely eradicate even acute health conditions safely. If a patient is being treated with allopathic medicine, holistic therapies may support the body during treatment, and alleviate the symptoms that often come with drug treatments and surgery. In addition, holistic therapies aim at the underlying source of the illness, to prevent recurrence.