What is alternative medicine? According to Merriam-Webster, alternative medicine is any of various systems of healing or treating disease (such as chiropractic, homeopathy, or faith healing) not included in the traditional medical curricula of the U.S. and Britain. I often write about methods that may be considered alternative modalities to enhance our well-being. This may include a plant, food, activity, or supplement. Rarely do I utilize only one method, instead, I apply the holistic approach to my life. This means that instead of viewing a symptom or an issue as needing to be “fixed” or eliminated, I view the body as a whole. The whole includes our physical, mental, and spiritual aspects.
If someone slightly cuts their finger with a knife while chopping onions, they will simply need a bandage. This is something that can be taken care of on the spot. However, if someone is dealing with chronic digestive issues, swelling joints or frequent congestion, then there is perhaps more to the issue than just the symptom. Unfortunately, in this case, with conventional medicine, we are often given a pharmaceutical to treat only the symptoms. This is not to say that we should avoid conventional medicine. On the contrary, conventional medicine is a pathway to finding what it is that ails us. However, this is where integrative medicine shines. Integrative medicine takes conventional or allopathic methods and combines it with holistic treatments.
Treating just a symptom is sort of a reductionist theory. For example, studies found that broccoli offered amazing benefits. So what was done? Scientists isolated the single compound (sulforaphane) that was responsible for the health benefits. Then guess what? They created a supplement for it. This is not holistic healing. Broccoli is beneficial due to all of its makeup, not just one isolated nutrient. When this nutrient is removed and concentrated, now you no longer have the synergistic effect of the broccoli. As I have said before, there are times in our lives when our bodies may need extra nutrients from sources other than our foods. However, when something is isolated in this manner, I have to question how much is it truly healing us? Broccoli offers an amazing power punch of nutrients, the entire thing, not just the sulforaphane in it. It needs all its parts to offer these benefits.
Another way to view this is when someone catches a cold or virus. The average person will employ a variety of methods, including adequate rest, increase fluids, minimize sugar intake, increase intake of nourishing foods, take vitamins or supplements and for some, even practice some form of mindfulness. This is the perfect example of holistic healing. It is addressing the body as a whole, not just the individual parts. Just taking a decongestant and running out the door, is using the reductionist method. However, there are times when we just can’t stay home to practice self-care. Life happens, commitments and expectations come in all forms- find that holistic balance. Remember that a large part of living holistically is about balance, so if you can’t slow down right now, fit some time in for self-care when you can. Life is full of expectations, the ones we put on ourselves are the toughest to meet. Set aside some time as often as possible to develop the habit of caring for yourself.
Quite often someone will ask me, “Which herbs, foods, or supplements should I take, or even avoid?” There is no specific answer here as the needs of each person will vary. Taking a holistic approach asks someone to step back and look at the whole picture. Where are we physically, emotionally and even spiritually? So how is this an alternative choice? For me, I prefer to view my own personal health journey on a holistic pathway. It doesn’t mean I shun conventional medicine when it is needed. I won’t deny that on a few occasions, conventional medicine has saved my life. I integrate modalities that work for me and find that balance within all types of healing. I also work with practitioners that share a similar mindset. Please keep in mind if you are in need of a diagnosis, cure or treatment to see a qualified medical professional.
If you would like to organize a wellness plan that suits your individual needs, then perhaps a holistic wellness consultation is what you seek. Your wellness journey is unique, just like you. As a Holistic Wellness Consultant, I walk alongside you on your wellness journey. I will offer gentle and compassionate guidance as you navigate your journey to wellness in a holistic and environmentally friendly way.
Which pathways do you choose for your healing journey?
A healthy planet begins with you!
This blog is for informational purposes only and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.