What is Holistic medicine?
Holistic medicine is a term used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person. That is, holistic medicine looks at an individual’s overall physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing 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. Their techniques are non-invasive.
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.
The concept of holistic medicine is not new. In the 4th century B.C., Socrates warned that treating one part of the body only would not have good results. Hippocrates considered that many factors contribute to the health or otherwise of a human being, weather, nutrition, emotional factors, and in our time, a host of different sources of pollution can interfere with health. And of course, holistic medicine existed even before ancient Greece in some ancient healing traditions, such as those from India and China, which date back over 5,000 years. However, the term “holistic” only became part of everyday language in the 1970s, when Westerners began seeking an alternative to allopathic medicine.
Interestingly, it was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that the principles of holistic medicine fell out of favor in Western societies, with the advent of major advances in what we now call allopathic medicine. Paradoxically, many discoveries of the twentieth century have only served to confirm many natural medicine theories. In many cases, researchers have set out to debunk holistic medicine, only to find that their research confirms it, as has been the case, for example, with many herbal remedies.