Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the person as a whole person. That is, instead of treating an illness, holistic medicine looks at an individual’s overall physical, mental,spiritual, and emotional well-being before recommending treatment. A practitioner with a holistic approach treats the symptoms of illness as well as looking for the underlying cause of the illness.
Holistic medicine also attempts to prevent illness by placing a greater emphasis on optimizing health. The body’s systems are seen as interdependent parts of the person’s whole being. Its natural state is one of health, and an illness or disease is an imbalance in the body’s systems. Holistic therapies tend to emphasize proper nutrition and avoidance of substances—such as chemicals—that pollute the body.
Some of the world’s health systems that are holistic in nature include naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, and traditional Chinese medicine. Many alternative or natural therapies have a holistic approach, although that is not always the case.
Here are some of the major holistic therapies:
- herbal medicine
- naturopathic medicine
- traditional Chinese medicine
- Ayurvedic medicine
- nutritional therapies
- stress reduction
- sound therapy
- energy healing / pranic healing
- plant medicine
There are no limits to the range of diseases and disorders that can be treated in a holistic way, as the principle of holistic healing is to balance the body, mind, spirit, and emotions so that the person’s whole being functions smoothly. When an individual seeks holistic treatment for a particular illness or condition, other health problems improve without direct treatment, due to improvement in the performance of the immune system, which is one of the goals of holistic medicine.