What Is Holistic Medicine?
Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person. Holistic health care considers the body, mind, spirit, and emotions to all be important parts of the healing process.
The main goal of holistic healing is to achieve proper balance in all areas of life. A holistic doctor may use all forms of medical care to help a patient. These methods can range from conventional medication to alternative therapies that can be used to treat a patient.1
What Does Holistic Mean?
The word holistic means that all parts of something are connected. In terms of holistic health care, this term refers to the belief that the whole person must be considered when treating them. Treatment focuses on mental, physical, and social factors within someone’s life.
History of Holistic Medicine Practices
Holistic healing has been around for thousands of years. These health practices can be traced back over 5,000 years ago to traditional Chinese healing rituals. These practices existed long before any modern medical practices ever began.
Traditional Chinese medicine viewed the body as a small universe of interconnected systems, and the first holistic health practitioners recognized that it was important to treat every aspect of someone’s life to balance their energy. Since then, holistic healing has evolved. It is now a complex treatment system that can be used to treat numerous different health conditions.2
The Principles of Holistic Medicine
A holistic doctor will often practice specific principles when providing treatment. The main principle of holistic health care is treating the whole person and all the areas of their life that may be causing health issues to occur. Other guiding principles of holistic healing are that:
- All people possess essential healing powers.
- The patient is a person and should not be defined by their health problems.
- Healing requires a team approach.
- It takes a wide variety of health practices to properly treat someone.
These principles that holistic doctors practice are meant to make this style of treatment more effective than traditional health care.
Holistic Medicine vs Traditional Addiction Treatment
Traditional addiction treatment often focuses on treating the addiction itself. While traditional addiction treatment can be effective, it tends to neglect other areas of someone’s life that may be causing the addiction to occur.
The holistic approach to addiction treatment will involve treating all areas of someone’s life to help them with recovery. Receiving holistic therapy is common within this approach and will focus on treating the mind, body, spirit, and emotions. This all-around form of treatment can be beneficial for those who have underlying conditions that may cause addiction. It is important to treat all areas of someone’s life so that they can receive the best possible results and maintain sobriety long term.
Types of Holistic Medicine for Addiction Recovery
Since holistic treatment involves treating all areas of someone’s life, there are many different options that may be used during the recovery process.
Implementing a yoga routine may be used to treat the mind, body, and spirit when taking a holistic approach. The relaxation and health benefits that can be derived from practicing yoga make it an effective addition to a treatment program.
When working with a holistic psychologist, they may recommend practicing mindfulness techniques. These techniques often involve practicing different forms of meditation and paying attention to your thoughts throughout the day. This method can be effective for treating addiction due to the relaxing effects that center the mind.
Acupuncture is believed to stimulate the central nervous system. Stimulation helps release chemicals into the brain that promote natural healing abilities alongside physical and emotional well-being. These benefits can be helpful during addiction treatment to provide healing outside of traditional medical practices.3
Practicing some form of physical fitness can be useful during recovery for several reasons. Fitness will be beneficial to both mental and physical health over time. It also helps reshape negative habits into a more positive outlet.
Diet and Nutrition
What you eat can affect the way you feel throughout the day. Eating a healthy diet promotes feelings of well-being and can be a positive addition to a recovery program.
If you go to see a holistic psychologist, they may recommend neurofeedback as an option. Neurofeedback provides immediate feedback about brainwave activity through a computer-based program. Using neurofeedback as part of a holistic therapy program can retrain the brain signals to treat addiction and help someone form healthier habits.
A holistic psychologist will also work with you to develop life skills that will help you maintain long-term sobriety. These skills help you cope with the stresses of life without the use of drugs or alcohol.
How Effective is Holistic Medicine for Addition Recovery?
Holistic medicine has proven to be an effective method for treating addiction. In 2013, a study published by Complementary Therapies in Medicine concluded that participating in yoga and mindfulness-based meditation made patients less susceptible to relapse later in life. A 2014 study published by the Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment showed consistent evidence that holistic medicine could enhance treatment.4
Is Holistic Medicine Safe?
Holistic medicine is safe and has been practiced for thousands of years. Holistic doctors are knowledgeable about practicing safe and effective medical procedures.
Combining Holistic and Traditional Addiction Treatment
Holistic and traditional approaches to treatment can complement one another. Traditional addiction treatment tends to focus on treating the addiction itself. This focused approach can be beneficial for getting through the detox process and on the road to recovery.
However, traditional treatment can leave some gaps in treatment since it may lack aiding other areas of someone’s life. This area is where holistic treatment could be valuable. Holistic medicine’s all-around approach fills in the gaps left by traditional treatment by aiding the mind, body, spirit, and emotions. Combining these two forms can create a well-rounded approach to addiction treatment.