Holistic healing is centuries old, but it is still used widely today. Holistic healthcare is sometimes used in conjunction with conventional medicine, or as an alternative altogether.
Suzan Walter, President of the American Holistic Health Association, refers to the holistic approach to healthcare as a combination of non-invasive techniques that are geared towards natural healing of the body.
This medical strategy does not utilize pharmaceuticals in the treatment of patients. Holistic practitioners evaluate a patient’s nutritional, emotional, environmental, and physical lifestyle.
Benefits of Holistic Healing
Here is a quick sample of some of the health benefits that are associated with holistic healing:
- Many conventional doctors’ office visits will only last 10 to 15 minutes; a holistic specialist will often take an hour or more to complete their initial assessment of your condition.
- Holistic medicine can often give you a sense of empowerment and self regulation of your body.
- The holistic approach usually addresses the mind-body connection to illness. In a study reported by Dr. Edward T. Creagan of the Mayo Clinic, “Healthy adults that are exposed to the common cold virus were twice as likely to get sick if they reported being under stress.” Holistic treatments, such as meditation and yoga often help alleviate stress.
Potential Risks of Holistic Healing
Although many people have reported favorable outcomes associated with holistic medicine, you should be aware of the following potential concerns:
- Some natural medicines have not been studied thoroughly, and they aren’t often regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.One such example is the popular herb St. John’s Wort, which is often used to treat depression. This herb should not be taken with prescription anti-depressants because of potential serious side effects.
- Another consideration is that not all insurance companies cover holistic treatments. This can be quite expensive. You should investigate your coverage options and consider if the benefits are worth the money.
- Some serious conditions may warrant immediate treatment by a physician in a conventional hospital or medical setting, prior to holistic examination.
Holistic Treatment Choices
Here are some of the common choices for holistic healing:
1. Herbal Medicine
Plants and other natural herbs have been used for thousands of years to treat sickness.
In fact, pharmaceutical companies sometimes attempt to copy the chemical makeup of natural herbs to manufacture medicine.
For example, willow bark has been used for many years to treat fever. When pharmaceutical companies first manufactured aspirin, they replicated the chemical structure of willow bark.
There are a variety of natural supplements on the market today. Consult with an experienced practitioner to see which one is right for your condition.
This ancient Chinese therapy is centered on the theory known as qi, pronounced “chee.” Acupuncturists believe that qi flows through the body in pathways known as meridians. According to this theory, if your qi is blocked, it may result in illness.
Acupuncture is performed by inserting thin needles into the skin. These needles are inserted at specific areas of the body, and are theoretically meant to stimulate energy.
Acupuncture is frequently used to relieve pain, treat joint and muscle problems, help control asthma, and is used to treat chronic medical conditions.
3. Chiropractic Treatment
This therapy is based on the theory that a wide variety of medical problems are caused by dislocations in the spine.
Chiropractors try to heal you by correcting the misalignments in your spine and other joints of the body.
Chiropractors often treat low back pain, neck pain, and headaches. They use modalities such as heat, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation to help relax the muscles of the body.
They will also twist and pull your body to help adjust your joints into the correct alignment.
This method of holistic healing has been practiced in India for centuries and is based on the principle of mind-body unity. Yoga emphasizes meditation through controlled breathing, various exercises and postures.
Many studies have revealed that yoga can help lower blood pressure, assist with headaches, heart disease, arthritis, and many other medical conditions.
There are several different types of yoga, which involve a variety of postures. Yoga instructors can often be found at health clubs, private studios, and community centers.