The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This popular quote is actually a paraphrased sentence from Aristotle’s Metaphysics, which was used as the basis of holism. This concept is deeply rooted in the idea that the synergy of the properties of a given system can’t be explained merely by observing its constituting parts separately. When it comes to medicine, it refers to an approach to healing which takes the whole person into consideration. This means that holistic treatments address different aspects of illness and health – biological, psychological, spiritual, and ethical equally. In other words, holistic treatments strive to restore and maintain balance in life.
Alternative medical systems
This term refers to a group of medical theories and practices established separately from conventional, Western medicine. It’s an umbrella term covering traditional Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic practices, or homeopathy. These different branches of alternative medicine take advantage of various methods including herbal remedies or manipulative practices. For example, traditional Chinese medicine is based on the concept of the two opposing life forces – yin and yang. Any disease is believed to stem from the imbalance of these two forces and the blockage of the energy flow. Acupuncture, massage, and herbs are used to unblock the energy flow and put yin and yang back in a balanced state.
Mens sana in corpore sano is a phrase mainly used to emphasize the power of physical activity and its impact on the mind. In a similar way, mind-body therapies assume that it’s actually the other way round. According to this holistic approach, it’s the mind that can help the body heal with the help of various techniques such as yoga, meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, or even guided imagery. Mind-body practices are particularly effective when it comes to addiction treatment, mainly because they don’t simply treat its consequences – substance abuse. Instead of that, they go beyond the skin-deep level and treat the underlying causes. This comprehensive and multilayered approach makes it effective when it comes to improving drug and alcohol rehab results.
Biologically based therapy
As its name says, this method mainly uses biological substances, that is, herbs, food, and vitamins found in nature in order to help the body heal. For example, aromatherapy, the use of aromatic plants for the production of essential oils, has both physical and physiological benefits. Essential oils can be either inhaled or applied topically, while ingestion isn’t recommended. This method is usually used as a complementary treatment since it’s not considered a cure. Its main role is to alleviate certain conditions such as nausea, different types of aches, anxiety, stress, depression, circulatory problems, and even hair loss.
This group of methods is used to treat different conditions through body manipulation. Some of the most popular treatments include massage, chiropractic, reflexology, and postural re-education. The belief which is at the core of the manipulative approach is that the body is capable of regulating and healing itself. Reflexology, for example, uses the practice of applying pressure on certain points of the foot as it’s believed that they correspond to various organs and systems. Chiropractic is a widely used procedure for treating the musculoskeletal system issues and injuries such as back pain or athletic injuries. More than 22 million Americans visit chiropractors every year which illustrates the popularity of this particular method. The theory behind this practice claims that if the body’s muscle and bone structures are properly aligned, it’s even possible to fix certain issues without a surgery. Apart from this, chiropractic is very helpful when it comes to improving the overall body flexibility, as well as the quality and range of motion.
Using different types of energy fields is a form of complementary therapy which originates from shamanistic Asian practices. Magnet, light, or sound therapies are believed to restore the energy flow and help the body heal itself. Reiki is a Japanese technique used mainly for stress relief and relaxation through the transfer of energy between the practitioner and the recipient. This can be achieved if the holistic healer lays their hands on the recipient’s body or above it.
Holistic therapy plays an important role in the healing process as it can improve the effects of conventional medicine.
About the author:
Mia Taylor is a fashion and beauty enthusiast from Sydney and writer for www.highstylife.com. She loves writing about her life experiences. Travelling and enjoying other cultures and their food with her husband is a big part of her life. She is always on the lookout for new trends in fashion and beauty, and considers herself an expert when it comes to lifestyle tips.
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