Holistic medicine is a form of treatment that looks at all aspects of health and wellness. For example, while traditional medicine simply focuses on alleviating symptoms (i.e. pain relief), holistic medicine looks deeper, seeking to obtain optimal health for the entire body. This would include a balanced approach of healing the mind, body and spirit using both conventional and alternative treatment methods.
This holistic approach to healing focuses on preventative medicine, which means taking care of our physical, mental and spiritual well-being before we get sick. On the other hand, traditional medicine focuses on treatment after a person becomes ill.
The definition of holistic medicine can be quite broad, where one person’s definition may be slightly different from another’s. As a result, not everyone will agree on what the definition of holistic medicine is, but in this guide, l will focus on the most popular forms of holistic healing.
The Principles of Holistic Medicine
When it comes to holistic medicine, there are several basic principles that are universally followed and practiced. By maintaining the health of these important elements now, we decrease the risk of becoming ill later:
- Optimal health. This principle focuses on being the best we can be by maintaining life’s essential elements:
- The power of love. Many believe love is a powerful healer. As a result, patients are to be treated with kindness and treated with dignity.
- The power of prevention. Instead of just treating the symptom, holistic health places emphasis on preventing disease and illness. This is accomplished by raising awareness to things (and situations) that may be harmful to a person’s health.
- Instinctive ability to heal. It is believed that we are all able to heal our mind, body and spirit from within. The goal is to help a person tap into these innate abilities and let the healing process begin.
- Unique, individual treatment. Many feel traditional medicine uses a “cookie-cutter” mentality to treat illness: if a person exhibits certain symptoms, they are simply given medicine to treat those symptoms. On the other hand, holistic medicine believes we are all different, and seeks to find treatments that are best for that specific individual, as opposed to what’s best for the disease.
- Live and learn. For practitioners of holistic medicine, life itself provides many learning opportunities. Birth, death, joy, sorrow, hunger, pain, and many other experiences can be learned from, and provide clues on how to treat (and possibly prevent) many health issues.
- Lead by example. Instead of just talking about the benefits of holistic health, the goal is to show others by applying the principles themselves, and inspiring others to do the same.