What Is Holistic Medicine?

by | Jan 23, 2024 | Burnout, Self Care | 0 comments

Start a conversation with your body. It might have surprising things to tell you!

The human body has a wonderful capacity to heal itself, yet many people deprive their bodies of that ability by solely focusing on traditional medicine for most ailments. Holistic medicine takes a whole-person approach to medical care and wellness. As more and more people want to feel better without reliance on drugs, this is an area growing in demand.

The word holistic means “dealing with the whole.” From this definition, we understand holistic medicine involves the wellness of the whole person. A holistic practitioner will treat not only the physical ailment or condition, but also the emotional, mental, and even spiritual aspects that aggravate the condition.

Take, for example, a headache. A holistic practitioner will look at the patient’s health and then beyond, taking note of stress levels, lifestyle and more. The practitioner may examine the patient’s diet for any deficiencies, such as low vitamin levels, that can contribute to the headache. Often addressing these other areas can reveal treatment and prevention options for the patient, meaning even greater wellness.

How does holistic medicine work?

A holistic medicine practitioner acknowledges that the human body has inherent capabilities for self-renewal and self-healing. Its goal is to activate these internal resources and support the body in its natural pursuit of balance and harmony. A doctor of holistic medicine helps

their patients regain health by providing them with tools and support to activate their own healing abilities.

This type of medicine acknowledges the interconnectedness between a person’s physical and emotional state. It recognises that stress, negative emotions, and psychological issues can impact physical health and contribute to illness. The holistic approach includes techniques for stress reduction, maintaining emotional balance, and improving the patient’s mental state.

Holistic wellness also emphasises the importance of prevention and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It focuses on proper nutrition, physical activity, adequate rest, and harmonious interpersonal relationships. Practitioners of holistic medicine advise their patients to implement positive changes in their lives to support their health and prevent the onset of diseases.

The Pro’s of Holistic medicine

A holistic approach to patient care and wellness has several benefits, including:

More personalised treatment—Holistic practitioners dig into the patient’s health history to find the elements causing the physical symptoms. They recommend personalised care approaches that address all of these issues.

Empowerment of patients in their healthcare—Holistic medicine helps patients take control over their health and wellness. Patients see the benefits of eating better and exercising more. They are given the tools to help their bodies heal on their own.

Better patient outcomes—When treating the whole body, holistic practitioners are better able to help patients achieve wellness, rather than just masking symptoms.

Merging conventional and holistic treatments—Holistic practitioners tap into traditional medical practices to help patients. They do not neglect science and modern treatments, but rather focus on using them with holistic therapies to help patients feel well.

Fewer side effects—Holistic treatments also tend to result in fewer side effects. Prescription medications, procedures, and surgery all result in unwanted side effects like nausea, weight gain, pain, and more. Alternative practices are designed to limit or eliminate side effects that are common within traditional medicine.

Emphasis on prevention—Another major benefit of holistic care is its emphasis on prevention. While traditional medicine aims to intervene after the disease appears, most types of holistic practitioners promote “well visits.” These treatments focus on preventing diseases before they show their symptoms, along with caring for those who are already ill.

Dr Rachel Jakeman

Dr Rachel Jakeman

MBBS MRCGP DRCOG DFFP Member of British Menopause Society

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