There has long been an argument about whether holistic medicine belongs in the realm of treatment or prevention.  The standard practices of a holistic medicine practitioner address the overall emotional, mental, social and physical needs of a patient, lending itself to preventative care.  However, the argument can also be made that holistic medicine has a strong presence in the treatment of disease and illness.

The basic tenet behind the practice of holistic medicine is that the body can heal itself if given the correct tools to use.   However, this is in direct opposition to the belief system under which the pharmaceutical industry develops and creates drugs.  It is also in opposition to the medical knowledge that is shared with new physicians in medical school.  In fact, it is in direct opposition to most of the information that is shared in the Western world.

But, holistic medicine practitioners, especially naturopathic physicians, only use holistic techniques to help focus on helping people identify and treat the cause.  The difference doesn’t lie in the diagnosis, since naturopathic doctors have the same diagnostic and imaging techniques as physicians in Western medicine.  Rather, instead, the difference lies in the treatment of the problem.

Naturopathic and holistic medicine practitioners believe that lifestyle choices make a difference to the overall health of the individual.  Interestingly, Western medicine practitioners are also coming to that same conclusion.

Research has shown that not only does recreational drugs and smoking have a negative effect on the health of a person but also lack of sleep or exercise as well as a diet high in animal fat and low in vegetables and fruit.

For instance, in the case of a headache, the holistic medicine practitioner would approach the diagnosis the same as a Western medicine practitioner by taking a good history and any imaging or diagnostic testing that appeared to be necessary.  They would then prescribe any medications that could be used to alleviate the pain.  But they would then go a step further.

At this point the holistic medicine practitioner would also talk about your daily routines and lifestyle choices that may be contributing to the headaches.  In order to stop the headaches from occurring in the first place the reason behind the symptoms must be addressed.  The holistic medicine physician will address options such as tension, food allergies and interactions to help find the initial cause of the problem.  By addressing the cause of the problem the physician can help the patient stop taking the medication needed to alleviate the pain.

Holistic medicine practitioners are very interested in educating their patients about the interactions of lifestyle choices and health so eventually the patient is able to maintain their own health independent of the practitioner.  But first health must be a priority in the life of the patient.

In today’s fast paced society many people are looking for a quick fix, a pill, even a drink that will take away the problems and allow them to go back to a sedentary lifestyle during which they smoke, drink alcohol and eat a diet high in saturated fats and animal meat.