Holistic health, what is it and why do I care?
"Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person -- body, mind, spirit, and emotions -- in the quest for optimal health and wellness. According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health -- the primary goal of holistic medicine practice -- by gaining proper balance in life."
For me, holistic health also includes advice and regular checkups with both holistic health practitioners and my trusted family M.D. Fortunately my medical doctor has no prejudices but does not address anything that is out of his realm, which means treatment based upon his medical education. That is as it should be. A typical appointment might go like this.
Dr. "Your cholesterol is elevated."
Me" Just a little bit, I will make some changes to my diet and exercise program before looking at medication."
Dr. "Sounds good, we'll check it again during your next annual."
The point is I want a doctor who not only listens to me but who has an open mind and treats me with respect as an educated adult who is actively involved in my own health journey. Now, having said that, if I responded to his observation by saying; "yes I will reduce my cholesterol by sacrificing a live chicken and offering it to Zumba, the god of aerobic health", his response would be different. I want my physician to be my partner, not my yes man and not my condescending, "knows everything and disregards anything he's not familiar with." Balance.
That word, balance, describes the goal of pursuing your best quality of life. I am pursuing total health, mind, body, and spirit all working synergistically. It's a lofty goal and I doubt it will ever be 100% achieved, but the joy is in the journey for me. Learning is always fun and when you have glimpses of the goal, it's fulfilling in a way that further adds to your quality of life. Which is the goal, right? See what I did there? Synergy.
So what are some typical treatments you might expect from your Holistic doc? Holistic practitioners use a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health. Depending on the practitioner's training, these may include:
- Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. This may include diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship and spiritual counseling, and more
- Complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, and others
- Western medications and surgical procedures
Holistic Medicine: Where to Find a Holistic Provider
Holistic providers may include medical doctors, doctors of osteopathy, naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, and homeopathic doctors. To find a holistic practitioner in your area, visit the American Holistic Medical Association web site. There you can use an online provider search to find a practitioner near you.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a holistic provider:
Don't go to just anyone.
As with all professionals, there are those who are good at their jobs and those who are not as good. Before choosing a holistic medicine doctor, get a recommendation from someone you trust, or contact a credible health organization and ask for a recommendation.
Do your homework.
When selecting a holistic doctor, find out as much as you can about that person’s training, experience, specialty, and association with professional organizations and hospital affiliations. Is he or she board-certified in holistic medicine by a credible medical board? Also, consider the doctor's treatment philosophy. Is it similar to your own views?
So that about covers it. I chose a path that works for me, you must do the same, there is no "right way" to achieve overall good health. The point is growing old doesn't have to be "waiting to die". We can and do live our very best years in the final quarter before the game is over. The choice is ours, but is anything more important than your health? More valuable? I don't think so.
Starting soon, I will be producing a weekly video blog, or vlog, (I just like saying "vlog"). Each week we will address a new area of holistic health. I will be announcing the weekly topic on Mondays and releasing the new video on Thursdays. We will cover the whole person, with tips and information about ways to feel your best, every day for the rest of your life. Join me on this journey by submitting your questions to me here at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will answer your questions in that week's video. I will be sending you the complete list of weekly topics soon, so watch your inbox and make sure you have my email on the safe senders' list. Thanks for being a part of my healthy family, see you soon!