Holistic Medicine For A Whole New You
Come down with that seasonal case of a cold again yet? It's bound to happen as adults get on average 2 -4 colds per year!
Next time you catch one consider the following questions; What’s your diet like and how about your sleep?. Do you manage your stress well or are you holding onto unresolved emotions?
Your local GP probably won’t ask you these questions when you come in with a case of the sniffles. It’s just as likely that you wouldn’t expect them to, which means you’re overlooking many factors influencing long term health. A holistic practitioner on the other hand would consider all factors relevant to you (like the ones above) in order to be as thorough as possible to get the best remedy.
Though sometimes misunderstood as “new-agey,” holistic medicine has been around for thousands and thousands of years. Ayurvedic medicine is believed to have started 1200-900BC and Tibetan medicine has been around for around 2,500 years. Today, it remains a highly individualised form of care and comes in a variety of different forms including three well known types: Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Homeopathy.
What is the value of holistic care versus your local doctor? Here’s a run-down of its most central ideas and how it could help you improve your overall wellbeing.
The sum is greater than its parts
At the root of holistic practice is just what it sounds like: wholeness. Unlike modern western medicine, you aren’t treated as a sick individual in need of a prescription. Any physical symptom—e.g. poor digestion, back pain—will be considered in relationship to your body, mind, spirit and emotions.
With strong science backing the connection of the mind and emotions to the physical body, it also seems like a logical and sustainable pathway to better health.
If you’ve ever felt like just another number in a bulk-bill clinic, you’ll appreciate this type of care!
The power of you
When was the last time your doctor took the time to really explain things and empower you to care for yourself?
One of the most valuable aspects of holistic medicine is the empowerment of patients. By enabling you to recognise all aspects of your being, a holistic practitioner encourages you to take responsibility for your own health.
You may just have to think twice before eating that bag of chips or staying up all night before a day of work, if you want to invest in good health.
There are many different forms of holistic medical systems, but they all have one thing in common: the concept of vitalism.
Simply put, vitalism is the energy which keeps our bodies ticking without our help. It may be what causes involuntary functions like homeostasis and cell function. Vitalism results in the belief that our bodies have an innate ability to return to good health, once we establish the right conditions for this to happen.
You can witness your own ability to heal by paying attention to your skin the next time you get a cut!
Treat the cause
Disease in holistic medicine circles is often referred to as “dis-ease”, or the absence of feeling well. In practices such as Naturopathy, practitioners do not focus on fighting disease, but instead on restoring health by removing factors which disturb wellbeing.
This type of care is not about a quick fix. it’s about creating changes in your lifestyle, habits, diet, emotions, etc. which could be making you more susceptible to an illness like the flu.
If by now you’re curious enough to search for your own holistic doctor, here are some things to consider:
The words “natural” and “holistic” can be thrown around a lot, so check up on credentials. Where have they studied and are they up to date with their knowledge?
Organisations like the Australian Traditional Medicine Society and Australian Natural Therapies Association provide databases where you can search for qualified practitioners in different areas.
Read reviews on others’ experiences. This could give you great insight into how the practitioner is with patients.
Follow your instincts. If your first appointment doesn’t feel right, there is no pressure to return. The journey to health requires proper support and the practitioner-patient relationship matters.