Is there science behind holistic medicine?

Holistic doctors are called naturopathic physicians or professionals. This means that they learn the same science behind medicine, nutrition and psychology as a doctor (MD), but they also study complementary and alternative medicine (MCA) to heal the body. To find a holistic professional in your area, visit the American Holistic Medical Association website. Practices considered in holistic medicine have been practiced for centuries around the world in different traditional medicines.

Holistic medicine means considering the whole person in the management and prevention of illness physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually. The terms holistic medicine and integrative medicine have emerged to designate a person-centered approach to care that encompasses the full spectrum of possible therapies (both conventional and unconventional) to improve general well-being, as well as to address specific symptoms or conditions. For the most part, holistic medicine refers to a general treatment practice that focuses on general well-being and does not fall within the definition of conventional medicine. Ayurveda, which literally means “the science of life”, is a natural healing system developed in India.

As reviewed in the previous section, experts classify five categories in alternative medicine, which group together several holistic medicine practices. For example, when a person suffering from migraines visits a holistic doctor, rather than going out with medication alone, the doctor is likely to look at all the potential factors that may be causing the person's headaches, such as other health problems, diet and sleep habits, stress and personal problems, and practices favorite spirituals. Before choosing a holistic medicine doctor, ask for a recommendation from someone you trust or contact a credible health organization and ask for a recommendation. Nutrition, exercise, homeopathy, prayer, acupuncture, and meditation are just a few other treatments that can be used in conjunction with conventional medicine as part of a holistic approach.

Holistic medicine is also based on the belief that unconditional love and support is the most powerful healer and that a person is ultimately responsible for their own health and well-being. Good listening and communication skills during the consultation are essential qualities for a physician using a holistic approach. One of the oldest holistic medical organizations in the United States is The American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA).

Lynette Onusko
Lynette Onusko

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