Friday, October 2, 2015

What in the World is Holistic Medicine?

If you’ve ever been to a chiropractor, or gotten a massage, or even seen an acupuncturist, you’ve experienced holistic medicine. The recent popularity of such practices doesn’t make them fads; in fact, some holistic practices (like acupuncture) are older than our civilization.

So what is holistic medicine? We’re glad you asked! Let’s take a look at what holistic medicine is, what it treats, and how to find a specialist who fits your needs.

What is holistic medicine?
Don’t let the word “holistic” trip you up—it’s not something new age-y or intimidating. It simply means that it’s a form of healing that considers the entire person (mind, body, and emotions) in treatment. In other words, a holistic doctor does not ignore the stress you’re under at work when you come in because of a sore back. WebMD tells us that for holistic practitioners, it’s all about balance; when one part of the body is out of whack, it affects all parts. The goal of holistic medicine, then, is to balance the entire body in order to bring healing.

While there are doctors specifically trained to treat patients in this holistic manner (like naturopaths), practitioners like chiropractors, massage therapists, and acupuncturists are also considered sources of holistic medicine. Chiropractors for one believe that the body has an innate ability to heal itself, and once the spine is in alignment, the spinal cord allows the Central Nervous System to communicate better throughout the entire body. For example, Dr. Gil of the Dr. Gil Center, a chiropractor out of Franklin, TN, seeks to treat patients in the way they need it most—which means referring patients to acupuncture or other holistic medicine practices if needed.

What does holistic medicine treat?
Ideally, holistic medicine can treat a host of bodily ailments. In fact, according to this CNN article, holistic medicine—specifically acupuncture—is great for dealing with pain as well as nausea. There are many vitamins (often a recommendation of holistic treatment) that can treat common ailments, such as vitamin B6 for menstrual cramps and glucosamine for joint pain. Chiropractors are known for treating musculoskeletal ailments such as headaches, back pain, and pain caused by injuries. Massage therapy takes care of muscle pain and relaxes the body. The list goes on.
How do I find a holistic doctor?
There are many ways to go about finding a holistic doctor or practitioner. For example, if you’re concerned that the practitioner is on your insurance, you can simply search your insurance provider’s website to see if they offer coverage for different types of treatment. Chiropractic is becoming more and more mainstream, so most insurance companies will cover chiropractic treatment. Some plans even cover acupuncture and massage therapy.

You can also search websites like the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine to find a reliable holistic doctor in your area. Don’t forget that you can ask your friends and family if they have ever seen a holistic practitioner. Their experiences will convince you of the merit of this kind of treatment more than any articles we could write!

Have you ever been to a holistic practitioner?
Even though the idea of holistic medicine is a little bit under the radar in our mainstream culture, that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable option for you. Holistic practitioners like chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists all exist to bring your body into balance and out of pain. Isn’t that worth looking into?

Have you ever seen a naturopath, or maybe one of the other types of practitioners we’ve listed? We want to hear your story, and so do our readers! Just click the “Comments” link at the bottom of this post and tell us about your experience. 

This article was provided by guest blogger: Sally Baggett. Sally holds a master's degree in literature and has been a copy editor and blog writer since 2009. Not only does she also teach writing at the college level, she is a busy mom to two precious little girls.

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