First of all, what does holistic medicine even mean? It is the idea that the treatment is focused on the whole person, taking into account their mental, physical and social situation rather than just the symptoms of the illness. It is about focusing on achieving optimal health and wellbeing! For example, if you were experiencing back pain, as well as giving you medication, a holistic doctor would look at other problems in your life such as your work to suggest lifestyle modifications to stop the pain recurring.
There are a couple of different treatments that holistic practitioners could use, which may include:
- Lifestyle changes for the patient to promote self care and overall wellness. This could vary from anything from diet to spiritual counselling.
- Alternative therapies such as massage and acupuncture.
- Western medication and surgery.
The idea of holistic medicine sounds good! Not only will your problems hopefully be solved but help in changing your lifestyle will potentially erase the chances of you re-experiencing these problems. Here are a few common alternative treatments to replace typically prescribed western medicine.
This is the practise of externally using essential oils as a holistic medicine. They have very therapeutic properties which can be used to improve health and prevent illness. Some of the most popular oils are Lavender, Chamomile and Tea Tree which can help aid problems from digestion to sleep.
Most often they are applied via massage but they are also administered in baths and can be inhaled. Research has shown that when these oils are rubbed into the skin, they are absorbed into the bloodstream and that some, like Tea Tree Oil, have antibacterial properties.
This is a very well recognised form of Chinese holistic medicine. The treatment consists of needles which are inserted into various pressure points on the body, to stimulate the nervous system into releasing hormones and endorphins into the body. These chemicals will change the experience of pain and stimulate the body’s natural healing ability.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommend considering acupuncture if you suffer from chronic headaches or migraines.
These are plant based medicines that are often prescribed by a herbalist who your GP might have referred you to. Plants can have many different healing properties and can be administered in multiple different ways. Often these holistic medicines can be drunk as tea, used as poultices or as topical oils and ointments.
A herbalist can treat anyone and can help solve problems with your joints to your heart. Herbs have been used in treatments for so many years and are often used in westernised medicine anyway, so their healing properties can’t be denied.
You may have had physical therapy before to help recover after an injury. This would probably have been more traditional, whereas holistic physical therapy allows the whole of you to be evaluated, including your mind and soul.
Instead of just focusing on fixing one specific area of your body that may be injured, the therapist will focus on you as a whole due to the belief that everything is connected. As well as physical support, there will be a focus on metal support, as physical injury can bring with it a lot of mental strain and upset.
If holistic medicine is something that you are interested in, then it is worth a try! However, it is advisable to do your research before trying any of theses treatments. Find a credible doctor who makes you feel at ease, it has to be someone that you trust and are willing to work with.