Understanding what holistic medicine is:
Holistic Medicine is a wellness-based approach to medicine. It emphasizes the need to look at the whole person, including analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values. It encompasses all stated modalities of diagnosis and treatment including drugs and surgery if no safe alternative exists. Holistic medicine focuses on education and responsibility for personal efforts to achieve balance and well-being.
How it works
Within the wellness model, health care practitioners examine a patient's body, mind, and spirit. When assessing the body, practitioners review a patient's nutritional status, exercise level, and environmental exposures (to such substances as radiation, plastics, chemicals, pollution, and tobacco).
When assessing the mind, health care practitioners discuss the mind-body connection. For example, the well-established "fight or flight" response shows the interconnectivity between the mind and body. Other research has shown the healthful benefits to the body when relaxation techniques are employed and the power of positive thinking. Holistic medicine practitioners also look at nutritional aspects that help keep the mind functioning at optimal capacity, the emotional support system that patients have in place, and the types of intellectual stimulation that keep the mind well primed.
Holistic medicine practitioners also assess the spiritual aspects of an individual. A spiritual connection, in whatever form, has been shown to improve health. The practitioners also discuss the importance of forgiveness and in "plugging in" (a patient's own discovery and connection with their place in the "bigger picture" and how personal decisions affect this "bigger picture").
A wellness plan for you
Holistic medicine practitioners offer the following "wellness prescription" tips for improving your mind, body, and spirit:
Avoid animal fats and trans fats (partially hydrogenated vegetable oils)
Emphasize omega-3 fatty acids (fish, seeds [especially flaxseed], and nuts
Eat more fruits and vegetables (8 to 10 servings per day)
Consume whole grains
Avoid white flour, sugar, and processed foods
Consider green tea instead of coffee