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Holistic Medicine

There are many approaches to holistic medicine. which is also called complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as well as integrative medicine. The following methods and interventions are ones I have been studying over the course of my medical career and of which I use to support my patients in my consultant practice.

  • Homeopathy
  • Yoga therapies
  • Meditation
  • Diet, Nutrition, Supplementation, Herbal medicines
  • Lifestyle counseling
  • Review of medical tests, including blood tests, X-rays, CT Scans, MRI’s, and Ultrasounds

Concepts of Holistic Medicine

The therapies, philosophies, and medical systems incorporated into the field of holistic medicine are based on the actual promotion of health. They assert that disease originates within the individual. In accordance with this idea, in order for a medical system to properly be called holistic, there are seven major principles which should be the basis of that system. These principles are by no means all inclusive. They are, however, based upon clinical experience as well as philosophic consideration.

Cause of Disease – When a person achieves a relative balance of body, mind, and spirit, he is living holistically and harmoniously. Maintaining harmony also means that he is constantly in the process of preventing illness. This harmony is disturbed when a person’s inner state is characterized by being overly emotional, aimlessness, negative thought patterns, or lack of spiritual direction. When these conditions are reinforced by disturbing habits, such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, or stimulant abuse, the result is a weakened organism, which is susceptible to disease. Thus, from this viewpoint, the microbial world is merely the exciting cause of disease that preys on a devitalized mind, body, and immune system, and the actual cause of disease is considered to originate within man’s mental and emotional spheres. Disease can thus be defined as the inability to adapt properly to the ever-changing stresses and vicissitudes of life, so that dissipating and negative habits predominate. The ailing person may resent being ill, would like to simply eliminate the symptoms without ever understanding the underlying causes.

Mind-Body-Spirit Integration – A model of holistic medicine should recognize that the human being is multidimensional, not simply a physical entity that somehow develops a mind and intelligence as offshoots of the brain’s chemistry. In orthodox Western medicine the split between the mind and body is reflected in the high degree of physician specialization.

Self-Responsibility – As long as a patient blames the outside world for his ills, he remains dependent and avoids assuming responsibility for the state of his own health. He considers the weather, other people, or tiny microbes to be the cause of disease and feels that treatment should be directed at eliminating the external conditions or organisms. Holistic medical systems acknowledge that the environment is closely interconnected with human beings and may well contribute to ailments.

Growth Orientation – An offshoot of self-responsibility is the area of the patient’s personal growth. A holistic medical group should provide him with the stimulus and practical techniques for self-growth and enhanced knowledge. In order to guide the patient to new insights, the doctor or health professional should be a teacher as well as a healer. Once the patient becomes responsible for his own health care, he learns to expand his inner awareness of the obstacles that inhibit health. 
Non-suppression: In a holistic system the techniques for establishing physical and mental homeostasis, as well as the medicinal agents used, should not suppress symptoms. This can best be understood by using an analogy to psychotherapy. Thoughts and feelings that are repressed or suppressed are forced into deeper levels of the unconscious mind.

Nontoxicity – Because there are so many hospitalizations per year in America due to the side effects of drugs, the question of medicinal toxicity becomes quite relevant. The holistic doctor should study various systems of medicine in order to determine the safest and most effective substances possible.
Decreased Cost: Hospital costs and doctors’ fees have been rising rapidly for many years and no way has been found to stem the inflation. The most feasible alternative is to remain healthy. A holistic system should teach people how to sleep, eat, breathe and direct their emotions toward creativity. 

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A Physicians Journey: Yoga and Meditation to Holistic Medicine