What is Holistic Medicine? A Definition

Rohan Mathew

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Did you know that about 38% of American adults over the age of 18 use some form of complementary and alternative medicine?

If you’re fed up with allopathic methods, it might be time for you to try holistic treatments.

Have you heard about holistic and integrative medicine but aren’t quite sure what it all means?

Let’s take a look at the holistic medicine definition and what you need to know about it.

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What Is the Definition of Holistic Medicine?

The word holistic in philosophy means something that is characterized by understanding all of its parts as intimately interconnected. Therefore each of its parts can only be explained through reference to the whole.

The holistic definition in medicine is treatment that takes the whole person into account. This means rather than just focusing on the symptoms of a disease, the body, mind, emotions, and spirit of the individual are considered.

What Are the Origins of Holistic Medicine?

The notion of holistic medicine has been around for millennia.

In ancient Greek thought, famed thinkers understood that the ailments of an individual had to do with a complex combination of factors. Socrates argued that good results wouldn’t follow if only one part of the body was treated at a time. Hippocrates believed that there were many factors that contributed to our health, including nutrition, the weather, and emotional factors.

Stretching even further back than ancient Greece, holistic medicine existed in places like China and India. Some of these traditions date back over 5,000 years.

The term holistic, however, only came into everyday use during the 1970s. This was as a result of the increasing interest of westerners in healing through other than conventional means.

What Are the Principles of Holistic Medicine?

The primary goal of holistic medicine is to achieve optimal health by obtaining the proper balance in life.

One of the guiding principles of holistic medicine is that support and unconditional love are the most powerful tools in healing. It is also believed that each individual is ultimately responsible for their own well-being and health.

Here are some of the other principles of holistic medicine:

  • Treatment isn’t just about alleviating symptoms, but about fixing the root cause of the issue
  • Patient’s are people, not diseases
  • Each individual has intrinsic healing powers
  • Healing is performed by both the healer and the patient and addresses every aspect of an individual’s life

In holistic medicine, when a person is unwell in any aspect of their life, it affects all the other parts of them.

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What Are the Types of Treatment in Holistic Medicine?

Practitioners of holistic medicine use a wide variety of treatment techniques. Their goal is to assist their patients in accepting responsibility for their own health and well-being. Depending on the particular practitioner’s training and credentials, these techniues might include:

  • Alternative and complementary therapies like chiropractic care, acupuncture, naturopathy, massage therapy, homeopathy, and others
  • Educating the patient about self-care and lifestyle changes in the effort to promote wellness, including things like exercise, diet, relationship and spiritual counseling, psychotherapy, and more
  • Western medical practices, medicines, and surgeries

The type of treatment you receive from a holistic practitioner can vary widely between healers.

Are There Side Effects to Holistic Treatment?

When someone is searching for the definition of holistic and integrative medicine, they’re likely interested in the potential side effects of this type of treatment. One of the main advantages of these types of therapies is that, when used correctly, there are few side effects.

Generally, the worst side effect that occurs is the natural detoxification process of the body when diet and lifestyle habits are changed. This can lead to symptoms such as headaches, nausea, or sensitivity to noise or other stimulations.

For a basically healthy person, these side effects are uncomfortable but not dangerous. If someone has a serious illness such as colitis, cancer, arthritis, or diabetes, it’s important that they receive treatment from a qualified holistic practitioner.

What Are the Different Types of Holistic Medicine?

The practice of holistic medicine is made up of many different fields of healing. Here are some of the different types of holistic medicine:

  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Ayurveda
  • Naturopathy
  • Massage
  • Body movement therapies
  • Yoga
  • Chiropractic and osteopathic medicine
  • Tai chi
  • Herbal medicine
  • Nutrition/diet
  • Dietary supplements
  • Reiki
  • Electromagnetic therapy
  • Qigong
  • Biofeedback
  • Meditation
  • Hypnosis
  • Visualization and guided imagery
  • Art, dance, and music

Each of these aspects of holistic medicine can be viewed as a field in their own right. Depending on your condition and what you feel you need to heal, any combination of these practices might be right for you.

Whether you are interested in holistic treatment for lymphoma, headaches, depression, or anything else, it is a great way of discovering your own responsibility for your wellness.

Understanding the Holistic Medicine Definition Can Help You Learn Whether This Approach Is Right For You

While there has been much criticism about topics such as holistic medicine in the past, it has become increasingly validated through studies and research.

The interaction between our bodies, our minds, our emotions, and our spiritual lives are becoming increasingly apparent. As complex beings, it only makes sense to realize that the different facets that make us up are all intricately interconnected. If it’s time for you to take control of your own health and stop handing it off to authorities and experts, you should consider looking into holistic treatment.

Did you find this article on the holistic medicine definition useful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog for more informative articles!