Today, if you tell someone you’re going to the doctor, there is only one image that comes to mind. It’s that of a board certified MD donning a white coat with a stethoscope around his neck. That is all. It is the vision of a clinic, a nurse, a waiting room, blood tests, and shots. It’s, by and large, all we in the western world know in “health care.” This kind of medicine is known as Allopathic Medicine.
Allopathic medicine is defined by Wikipedia as: “mainstream medical use of pharmacologically active agents or physical interventions to treat or suppress symptoms or pathophysiologic processes of diseases or conditions.”
Allopathic medicine is pharmaceutical medical care. It is about chemical alteration in order to bring balance and health to the body. It is ONE approach to health care, but it is not the ONLY approach to health.
Allopathic care definitely has it’s advantages. Tremendous medical advancements and research has been done in the name of allopathic care. Lifesaving antibiotics can now be given to children with serious bacterial illnesses. Acute care saves lives. Diagnostic testing is the best it’s ever been in the history of mankind.
There is another approach to health care as well, and it is not widely recognized or used in the western world. It is not based on the belief that pharmaceuticals are always the answer. Holistic medicine is defined by wikipedia as “The art and science of healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and alternative therapies to prevent and treat disease, and most importantly, to promote optimal health.”
Holistic care is the type of health care that is practiced by chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, midwives, and nutritionists. It is based on the belief that the body has the capacity to heal itself, and that all parts of the body are connected. It sees a person as a whole, so when something is done to one part, the rest of the body will naturally be affected.
The holistic approach takes care of a body in it’s entirety when there is a presenting illness, rather than simply looking at a single issue and addressing solely that. Furthermore, holistic practitioners believe that the condition of a person’s mind and spirit affects their physical health as well.
For instance, let’s say someone has gallbladder issues. The only solution that allopathic medicine offers for gallbladder problems is removal of the gallbladder. Since the gallbladder is seen as the issue, simply removing it is said to solve the problem.
A holistic care provider, however, will approach the problem differently. They will examine diet, lifestyle and stress levels. They may talk about preventing the problem in the first place, or prevent it from worsening if the problem isn’t too advanced. A holistic provider may also address emotional traumas. A holistic provider sees the gallbladder as a part of the whole, and without it a person is not able to be fully functional.
Holistic care and allopathic care work best when they can work together. Holistic providers are experts at supporting wellness in all areas, while allopathic medicine is perfect for acute care. It’s certainly important to have a doctor that you go to regularly. But in addition, see a nutritionist or naturopath, get adjusted regularly by your chiropractor, and try acupuncture. Your health is your most precious asset - support it in every way possible.