Practicing sustainability, making healthy food choices, and embracing natural remedies are all components of pursuing holistic health. Holistic health is a term for the ancient wisdom that your optimal health is derived from living in harmony with the earth and caring for yourself as a whole person: body, mind and spirit. Fifty years ago, most people thought the idea was superstitious or radical. Today, there is a wide variety of medical research that supports the legitimacy of this wisdom.
There are numerous scientific studies that reveal how our habits, our environments, and even our emotions—like hope and stress—affect our health. The United States’ Center for Disease Control (CDC) supports this understanding of human health. According to their analysis of the determinates of a population’s health, genes and biology play a small role in our health in comparison to social and environmental factors. Holistic medicine or integrative medicine takes into account each of the factors on the CDC’s pie chart: genes & biology, lifestyle behaviors, medical care and social/environmental factors. It combines alternative therapies and lifestyle coaching with traditional western medicine to care for people as a whole person. The goal is to not only treat disease but to promote a patient’s overall health.
While you might be comfortable visiting a chiropractor, seeking out holistic healthcare on a regular basis for anything other than a sore back might be out of your comfort zone. One of the biggest reasons many of us don’t actively seek out holistic medicine is because it sounds more mystical than medical. Since integrated medical practices use herbal remedies and alternative therapies, we often have the impression that holistic healthcare physicians reject all contemporary medicine. This belief is actually quite unfounded. Reputable integrated medical practices use conventional drugs and surgeries when they are necessary. Many alternate and complementary treatments that they use, such as CBD treatments for cancer and acupuncture for pain, have been validated through medical research.
Something that sets holistic medical professionals apart from traditional medical professionals is not the treatments that they use but how they approach caring for their patients. According to the Academy of Integrated Health & Medicine, these are the principles that define a holistic medical practice:
- Creating a team-like relationship between physician and patient in which the patient has autonomy and feels that his/her needs, desires, awareness and insight is valued and heard
- Addressing the underlying cause of a disease instead of only treating the symptom
- Learning the lifestyle, emotional well-being and history of a patient in order to know what kind of patient has a disease instead of only establishing what kind of disease a patient has
- Embracing safe and effective diagnosis and treatment including conventional drugs and surgery, complementary alternatives, and education for lifestyle change
- Viewing illness as a manifestation of overall health and not an isolated event
- Teaching patients about the damaging physical effects of prolonged fear, hostility, shame, greed, depression, anger and grief while also helping patients to tap into the healing power of humor, hope, enthusiasm and love
- Prioritizing preventative care and utilizing a patient’s innate healing capabilities
- Teaching patients that optimal health is the result of pursuing the highest qualities of the physical, environmental, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of the human experience and is not simply the absence of sickness
To a holistic healthcare physician, you are a person not a disease. If you often leave your doctor’s office feeling like he/she doesn’t really see you as a person then you know firsthand how unique this approach is to healthcare. If you suffer from a chronic condition and are discouraged that the underlying source of your physical pain or discomfort is never addressed, then holistic medicine may be exactly what you’ve been longing for.
Our belief in a holistic approach to health is what sparked our line of CBD hemp products here at Pure Hemp Botanicals. Now that you understand more about holistic healthcare, we hope you can see the value in investing in your overall health and partnering with a physician or caregiver who sincerely cares about your wellbeing and will seek out treatments that address more than simply your symptoms. It is always smart to check out the credentials of any medical provider you intend to visit. As long as you have done your research, there is no reason to shy away from holistic medicine or fear visiting an integrated healthcare center. If you have been trying to focus on self-care, you might want to add a visit to a holistic health center to your list.