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What Is Holistic Medicine?

The adjective holistic describes treating or dealing with something in its entirety – rather than just a part. And the holistic approach is reflected in the importance now attributed to both social and psychological aspects of disabling progressions.

When this is linked to a medical setting, a holistic approach will address the physical, mental, and emotional state of you as a whole person – and also take social factors into account.

So, what is holistic medicine? Read on…

Find Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

What is holistic medicine definition?

Holistic medicine is a term describing therapies that aim to treat you as a whole person – rather than treating an illness. Holistic medicine is an examination of overall emotional wellbeing and spiritual health, as well as the underlying cause of any disorder.

The body’s systems are seen as interdependent parts of your whole being with the natural state being one of health. Illness or disease unbalances this arrangement – and there’s no limit to the range of disorders that can be treated in a holistic way – balancing the mind, body, spirit, and emotions to ensure that you function effortlessly.

Holistic medicine is particularly helpful in the treatment of chronic illness and maintaining health through proper nutrition and stress management. The aim of holistic medicine is to bring all areas of your life – particularly the energy flow through your body – back into harmony. And necessary adjustments to diet and lifestyle can be made to achieve the best health.

What is holistic health?

Holistic health encourages living in ways that highlight the interconnected nature of mind, body, heart, and spirit. The roots of all medicine are holistic with principles of three properties – you as a whole person, natural elements, and personal empowerment.

Holistic health encourages you to take responsibility for your own wellbeing – choosing the actions you make and take every day. Health and wellness are the primary functions of all aspects that you are.

Holistic health wellness is a balance of:

  • Mind – you have the power to engage, nurture, and rest
  • Body – you can challenge, nourish, and relax
  • Spirit – build your trust in the universe, connect with nature, and feed your soul
  • Heart – connect with others, open, and cherish your heart

What is holistic healing?

Holistic healing aims to restore and maintain balance within you as an entire person, instead of focusing on a specific illness or condition. It addresses all parts of you and your life. Your mind, body, and spirit will be considered in all holistic healing practices.

Today holistic healing is increasingly needed as natural connections to the environment become strained. And it’s making progress within the medical community as it offers both immediate and long-term health benefits.

What is holistic care?

Holistic care definition is a philosophy that ensures care for all parts of you – and involves healing the mind, body, heart, and soul. There are five main areas of holistic health care and these are:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Social
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual

Holistic care can enrich your life when a holistic needs assessment is carried out and these needs are met in a timely and appropriate way. Information from these assessments is essential for diagnosis, planning, and implementation.

Are there different kinds of holistic medicine?

There are many types of holistic medicine with new therapies emerging periodically. These have been grouped into five categories by the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health and cover:

Traditional or Alternative Medical Systems – examples are Traditional Chinese Medicine where harmony brings health, wellbeing, and sustainability – and disharmony leads to illness and disease. Therapies include acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and dermal friction.

Another system included in this category is Ayurveda – India’s primary healthcare striving to create harmony between the body, mind, and spirit with massage, meditation, diet, herbs, and cleansing therapies.

Sacred Plants – Indigenous communities have long revered plants for their powerful healing properties. They identified certain plants that used in a ceremonial setting can bring about a complete transformation including behavioral, social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual healing.

The Spirit Vine Ayahuasca retreat center in Brazil organizes retreats where participants get to meet the ancient plant teacher Ayahuasca in it’s natural setting, while still having access to comfortable modern amenities. The participants are prepared with empowering tools during workshops that allow them to navigate the ayahuasca experience and also continue working on themselves once they are back home. Integrating the content to transform the everyday life is the focus of the retreats at this center.

Mind-body therapies – include mediation, prayer, yoga, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Biologically-Based Therapies – using plants or substances that are derived from plants to prevent disease. Bark, seeds, roots, and stems are also included in these botanical medicines. Popular botanicals comprise of cranberry, soy, Echinacea, gingko, and St John’s wort.

Manipulative and Body-Based Methods – manipulation, touch, and movement of the physical body are the key characteristics of this category. Massage therapy is the manual manipulation of muscles, tendons, and ligaments to enhance health and wellbeing, and to increase general health. It can also reduce stress and relieve pain.
Healing touch is an energy therapy that uses gentle hand techniques to balance energetic interaction with your energy system – accelerating holistic healing.

Reiki is a spiritual healing practice that promotes balance with the vibrational field that’s known to surround and penetrate the body. It’s a light, non-manipulative touch that strengthens wellness and allows you to cope with symptoms.

Reflexology can decrease anxiety, reduce headaches, and enhance overall wellbeing with the application of appropriate pressure to specific points and areas on the hands, ears, or feet.

Energy Therapies – involving a form of energy to help healing which includes electromagnetic, thermal, subtle, or ultrasonic energy. Reiki and healing touch therapies are also examples in this category that are performed by people instead of using technology.

How do I choose a holistic practitioner?

Bear the following tips in mind when looking for a holistic provider:

  • Get a recommendation from a trusted health organization
  • Consider the therapist’s treatment philosophy to ensure it matches your own
  • Make sure you feel comfortable and your concerns and beliefs are respected

Confirm that your practitioner is trained and certified in the core curriculum that covers:

  • Physical and environmental health
  • Mental and emotional health
  • Spiritual and social health

Holistic vs wholistic?

Wholistic is an Anglican version of the holistic spelling – and the words are interchangeable with the same effectual meaning. Wholistic refers to your whole body, considering the mind, body, heart, and spirit. And holistic emphasizes the importance of the whole body and interdependence of its parts.

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