When we hear the word “holistic,” many of us don’t know what that actually means. Is it really better for you? Do I have to stop taking all my prescriptions and only take supplements?
Holistic medicine is an umbrella term, and there are of course many variations and levels of holistic care.
At its core, holistic medicine looks at the “whole” person to get a better understanding of what underlying issues could be driving the symptoms. Holistic practitioners may use different methods and tests to find out what the deeper issue is at play.
Overall, a holistic practitioner is looking to treat what ails you, but more importantly, is wanting to create healthy habits (including dietary and lifestyle) to help prevent further issues from cropping up in the future.
Let’s dive into an overview of what holistic medical care is, how it’s beneficial, and if it’s right for you.
- What is holistic medical care?
- What are the benefits of holistic care?
- Incorporating mental health into your treatment plan
- Is holistic medical care for you?
- Have you been interested in seeking more natural courses of healing?
- Can you afford it?
- What are the benefits/cons of seeking holistic care? (And of not seeking holistic care?)
What is holistic medical care?
The principle of holistic medicine is that all aspects of our body affect one another. For example, your emotional well-being may impact your gut health.
For this reason, holistic practitioners seek to heal your mind, body, and spirit. They may do so through a variety of both conventional, Western medicine techniques (like prescription medicine) and also incorporate Eastern methods, like the following:
- Acupuncture – the process of inserting small needles into specific points on the body to reviograte your energy flow
- Aromatherapy – breathing in or applying essential oils to the skin; different oils provide different natural remedies
- Bowen technique – during this therapy, the practitioner gently touches you
- Massage therapy – a gentle or tough kneading of the skin and muscles to provide pain relief
- Meditation – a practice of sitting and focusing on your breath to create a greater consciousness
- Nutritional therapy – addressing the nutrients you’re putting into your body
- Reiki – a form of energy healing where the practitioner’s palm is placed on various points on the person’s body
- Yoga – an exercise that combines physical activity with mindfulness
What are the benefits of holistic care?
Oftentimes, we find ourselves seeing different doctors for different diagnoses. While they may know our medical history, they can sometimes overlook the medications or prescriptions our other doctors have put us on.
Or, perhaps there is an undiagnosed issue that these medications are actually making worse, but no doctor has caught it because they’re focused on their field.
If you see a holistic doctor, often referred to as a naturopathic doctor, they take the time to do a deep assessment of every medication you’re on, any symptoms you’re experiencing, your diet and exercise routine, along with a check into your mental and emotional health.
By looking at all of these variables at the same time, the naturopathic doctor is able to get a better overall picture of your health, and may be able to catch something that your other doctors have missed.
A naturopathic doctor can also prescribe different things to alleviate your pain or symptoms. For example, they may recommend you take certain supplements or suggest seeing a chiropractor to get your spine in its correct positioning.
Incorporating mental health into your treatment plan
Your naturopathic doctor may also recommend you seek help for your mental health, in ways your other doctors have never recommended.
You may even find out you have a mental health disorder that’s gone unchecked and wreaked havoc on your body. For example, say you tell your naturopathic doctor that you have strange heart palpitations that seem to come and go without warning. You’re worried that you may have a heart condition, but your doctors haven’t been able to conclusively diagnose anything.
After a careful questionnaire diving into your psychological aspects, you may be surprised to find out you have a generalized anxiety disorder. Even though you may not feel anxious, your body can be storing up those anxious feelings, which can result in a myriad of physical symptoms, including sweating, shallow breath, and – you guessed it – heart palpitations.
Once you have this diagnosis, your naturopathic doctor may do a number of things. They may prescribe a mood stabilizing or anti-anxiety drug. Or they may recommend you try one of the above holistic methods, such as reiki or the Bowen technique. Of all the options, they will likely recommend you see a therapist to start to work through where the anxiety you’re feeling is stemming from.
In some cases, the naturopathic doctor may uncover issues of a more serious nature. For example, maybe they order some unique blood tests, and find out your liver isn’t in great shape. Upon asking you some more questions, they may find out you have a serious drinking problem that you’ve hidden from your other doctors, and even your family and friends.
In this case, the naturopathic doctor may recommend you go to a holistic treatment center, like The Exclusive Hawaii. At programs like this, you’ll continue to receive a treatment perspective that looks at your health from a mind, body, and spirit level, and is able to teach you healthier coping mechanisms to replace your addictive behaviors.
Is holistic medical care for you?
Now, you need to ask yourself some questions about if seeing a holistic practitioner is right for you.
Have you been interested in seeking more natural courses of healing?
If so, holistic medicine is right in your wheelhouse.
Can you afford it?
Unfortunately, not all holistic medical care is covered by traditional health insurance. Oftentimes you can get a full or partial reimbursement, but they may come with an upfront payment or copay. Depending on the cost of the visit and your personal financial situation, that may make certain holistic care out of your price range.
However, rather than deciding on your optimal care based on price, give the holistic clinic a call. They may be willing to work with you or have a sliding scale system set in place where they can work with your financial needs.
What are the benefits/cons of seeking holistic care? (And of not seeking holistic care?)
Maybe you’ve had debilitating symptoms or pain for a long time. If you’ve gone through a barricade of different treatment options, what’s the harm in meeting with a naturopathic doctor and seeing what they recommend? You may be surprised to find out a new treatment option, natural or conventional, that you hadn’t thought of otherwise.