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Holistic Health as an Alternative Medicine

Apr 24, 2008
Many philosophies have been adopted throughout history in the continuing search for good health. Holistic health is the realization of our potential as humans as total beings, and our desire to live fulfilling and satisfying lives. The overall goal is not just to be physically healthy but also to be in harmony with oneself and the environment at all levels, body, mind and spirit. Relationships, social interaction and lifestyle are also factors that are considered when dealing with a holistic approach. Managing, or eliminating stress is a basic component of holistic health.

Holistic is a term that emphasizes the functional relationship between the whole and its parts. Holistic health or holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Holistic medicine is not a new concept or theory. In fact holistic health is more of a philosophy that has been in existence for thousands of years. Holistic medicine however is new to western medicine and our health care system.

When holistic medicine is used in conjunction with traditional health care, the approach to therapy takes on a whole new dimension. Patients roles are changed in that they become more involved in their treatment by being made aware of their condition and how their thoughts, behaviors and attitudes are attributed to the situation and they are taught how by making changes they can be actively involved in their own healing process.

There are several terms that are often associated with holistic medicine. Alternative medicine, complementary medicine, and natural healing are probably terms that you have heard before. Alternative medicine is a term used by both medical professionals and the general public to describe medical techniques or procedures that are not generally recognized or accepted by traditional or conventional practitioners.

These techniques include non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical methods as well as experimental drugs or therapies that are not in general use or as of yet widely accepted as means of effective treatment. The attitudes about alternative medicine are changing and in recent years many of the practices have become widely accepted so much so that a few are now actually considered conventional.

Complementary medicine is usually a term used by conventional or traditional medical practitioners to describe non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical practices that are used in conjunction with or to compliment surgery and prescription or over the counter drugs.

The implication is that these practices are the primary tools used in the healing or treatment process and that the unconventional techniques are just used as a backup or supplement as needed. Natural healing refers to non-invasive techniques as well but does not usually involve the use of any drugs or supplements of any kind. Natural healing is usually a reference to physical healing or bodywork only.

There is a wide variety of natural, alternative, or complementary practices that are used to attain holistic health. Some of these practices include aromatherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, massage, naturopathy, medicinal herbs, Reiki, Tai chi, and yoga. All of these approaches can help reduce stress. Stress reduction is a fundamental principal of holistic health. The reduction of stress is believed to allow the body's natural healing abilities to go to work.
About the Author
Scott Meyers is a staff writer for Its Entirely Natural, a resource for helping you achieve a naturally healthy body, mind, and spirit. You may contact our writers through the web site. Follow this link for more information on Nutrition & Health.
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