A holistic approach to medicine means to offer support which looks at the entire person, not simply their medical needs. The support involved must also take into consideration their personal, physical, emotional, spiritual and social well being. Every individual will have a unique experience of pain and mental illness and therefore a different path to healing that is affected by their age, sex, culture, tradition, personality and past experiences.
A good holistic approach considers the whole person in treatment. The physical, mental and emotional health of an individual is interdependent. If one is not healthy mentally and emotionally, physical and emotional support will not benefit that person’s cause.
Holistic doctors work with the whole person to ensure that he or she is given the best possible chance at healing. By working on the whole person holistically, they make sure that there is balance of mind, body and spirit. In fact, many practitioners of holistic medicine believe that to truly be healed, a person must feel completely free and at peace within. Holistic medicine seeks to help the entire person in any circumstance through effective diagnosis, prevention, communication, therapy and care.
This includes an understanding that the mind, body and spirit are intertwined and working separately will result in no improvement in wellness. This is known as the synergistic effect. With a holistic approach, the mind/body/spirit are treated as a whole. When viewed that way, it is obvious that wellness can only occur in a total sense. Holistic healing believes that in order for any form of healing to occur, holistic approach in addition must be used.
Holistic Approach in Practice
Some would argue against the effectiveness of holistic approach by saying it doesn’t address the physical. While it may not directly address the physical, it does touch on it indirectly. For example, while diet is part of holistic medicine, so is acupuncture and meditation. Both of these techniques are forms of treating the physical but holistic approach focuses more on the psychological aspect. The goal of holistic medicine is to promote mental, emotional and physical health. Holistic practitioners believe that these aspects are interdependent and working together in harmony will produce overall wellness.
A major problem with holistic approach is that it often makes people feel that their problems are outside of their control or that they have little control over the problems in their lives. There is a tendency to see the world as a chaotic place and this leads to depression and other emotional problems. The truth of the matter is that the environment we live in and the way we respond to it, affects us both mentally and physically. People who go through holistic nursing therapy, for example, note improvements in mood, improved self-image and better relationships. There are documented reports of patients with cancer who have responded well to holistic nursing.
Overcoming the obstacles inherent in holistic approach means finding effective ways to cope with stress. This can include meditation and yoga practices to reduce pain. A person who experiences physical problems holistically should be encouraged to focus on the positive aspects of their lives instead of dwelling on the negative. In addition, people should be encouraged to look at situations from different perspectives. This can include looking at them from the perspective of a friend, family member or loved one rather than looking at them from a distance.