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Good Health, Wellness &
The Role Of Holistic Medicine

Good Health - Is It Everything?

As the saying goes, "your health is everything." Or is it?

People universally claim to want good health, whether or not they take measures to achieve it. But what is wellness? If you are physically healthy, does that mean you are well?

If you've been stung by a bee or eaten a peanut and you're deathly allergic to those toxins, or if you've broken your arm or stepped on a nail, then long-term wellness has less relevance in the moment. Read our First Aid section or head for your local medical clinic.

Once those crises are past, your general sense of well-being may also influence your physical health.

What Is Wellness?

Wellness is more a state of mind than perfect physical condition. One can achieve happiness, contentment and acceptance in the moment. With that perfect balance one may possess a sense of well-being, even in the face of what others may see as insurmountable physical or other personal challenges.

Good physical health contributes to a sense of well-being, but it is vastly important to grasp the extent to which our mental and emotional state influences the cellular functions in our bodies.

Well-Being For The Whole Person

Holistic medicine is a system of health care that emphasizes the whole person, based on the belief that the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of health are of equal importance to a person's well-being. To devise a plan that treats the whole person and not just the symptoms of disease, holistic medicine looks at all options to treat a condition, including natural, herbal, "conventional" (allopathic or so-called western medicine), plus physical, mental and emotional states .

Holistic medicine is more a philosophy of wellness and health than it is a method or collection of techniques. A practitioner of holistic health may recommend or use any of a wide variety of so-called alternative and conventional methods in treatment. Those may include herbal and natural healing, massage therapy, counseling and support groups, aromatherapy, herbal medicine, diet and nutritional supplements and conventional drug therapy and surgery.

Who Uses Holistic Medicine?

In recent years, more and more conventional health care providers are supporting a holistic approach to health. Compared to the last few decades of the disease and symptom approach to "modern medicine," recognizing and supporting wellness programs that emphasize all aspects of a person's health is a monumental step that fosters hope for the integration of body, mind and spirit into our health care. Many health insurance plans now include coverage for gym and health club memberships, support groups for weight loss and smoking cessation and for people dealing with particular conditions, educational outreach, nutritional counseling and referrals to some alternative practitioners such as massage therapy and acupuncture.

Holistic medicine may refer to one of a number of different alternative therapies that share the belief that medical treatment must take the entire lifestyle and life of a person into account when prescribing treatment, not just the symptoms of a disease. These may include homeopathy, naturopathy, Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy or conventional physical therapy, to name a few.

Consider becoming your own therapist with any number of other energy-based modalities such as Reiki, music, art, breathwork or color therapy.

The Evidence for Holistic Medicine

Since holistic medicine refers to a philosophy of health that includes many different disciplines, it?s difficult to define specific research or studies that support the use of holistic medicine overall. There is no financial incentive for researchers aligned with our AMA or pharmaceutical companies to explore these disciplines. (On the contrary...)

In general, however, most conventional practitioners are starting to agree that disease is often a function of more than just the symptoms or the pathology, and that it is better to treat the person than to treat the illness. Consequently, they will prescribe treatments that include meditation, yoga, martial arts practice for exercise, dietary and lifestyle changes and support groups to help a patient achieve a more balanced lifestyle.

Many of these therapies, such as acupuncture and ayurveda, have been developed and used successfully for hundreds or thousands of years in other cultures and remain unproven only by our western scientific methods.

Furthermore, most holistic therapies cost far less than allopathic medicine. They are safer less invasive, and can often be achieved at home or in supportive group atmospheres.

If you came looking for something specific, an abundance of information on a wide variety of topics is available through these pages. Let your intuition guide your clicks and you?ll be sure to find what you need, even if you didn?t know you were looking for it.


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