Challenges is dedicated to exploring how medicine is constantly morphing to meet modern healthcare challenges and human goals for health, longevity, and wellness. Through interviews with functional medicine practitioners, integrative medicine specialists, and other thought leaders in holistic healthcare.
Navigating through the confusing maze of wellness philosophies and terminology can be dauntingly complex, and words like “holistic,” “functional,” and “integrative” may get lost in translation.
What Is Holistic Medicine?
Holistic medicine takes a more comprehensive approach to your health and wellness, acknowledging that mind, body and spirit are intimately interlinked, so bringing them back into harmony will improve health and increase overall wellbeing.
Holistic medicine practitioners believe that disease stems from lifestyle factors, environmental considerations and emotional well-being of their patients. Furthermore, they maintain that our bodies possess an inborn capacity for self-healing without needing medication or surgery as treatments.
Holistic practitioners specialize in helping their clients heal body, mind, and soul with various treatments like acupuncture, massage, traditional Chinese medicine, nutritional counseling and natural supplements. While the term “holistic” can often be used interchangeably with functional medicine, integrative medicine or naturopathic medicine approaches – this can be confusing as these modalities and approaches differ considerably – whereas functional medicine doctors focus on uncovering the source of their symptoms while naturopaths utilize more traditional practices when treating them.
What Are the Differences Between Functional Medicine and Integrative Medicine?
When discussing holistic health treatments, various terms come up such as functional medicine, integrative medicine and natural medicine. While all three approaches share some similarities in their approach to wellness.
Functional medicine examines every aspect of your history, environment and lifestyle to uncover any imbalances which might contribute to disease. Practitioners work alongside their clients as partners in order to address root causes of health issues and help prevent future ones.
Integrative medicine embraces an integrated approach to holistic health by blending traditional and alternative practices together, such as acupuncture, massage therapy, diet/nutrition advice and herbal remedies.
Natural medicine employs an alternative healing approach by employing remedies derived from plants, herbs and minerals, in addition to taking into consideration patients’ mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as part of its approach. This form of treatment allows for more individualized approaches towards treating health issues; by encouraging active participation in your healing journey and giving control back over to you.
How Can I Find a Holistic Practitioner?
If you want to explore holistic medicine as a potential treatment option, it is crucial that you find a practitioner with appropriate credentials. When searching for practitioners it is a good idea to search for doctors who have board certification as well as one who lists these credentials on their website or practice brochures.
Find a doctor who will work with you towards achieving your overall health and wellness goals. Holistic practitioners take an integrative approach, often being comfortable discussing emotional, spiritual and physical components of wellness as part of care.
Holistic, functional and integrative physicians also focus on prevention. They assist their patients in reaching and maintaining wellness by encouraging healthy habits and lifestyle choices; offering nutritional, herbal and bodywork therapies as needed; as well as being trained to identify and treat disease’s root causes rather than simply covering symptoms with medication.
What Can I Expect from a Holistic Practitioner?
Holistic practitioners are healthcare providers who utilize complementary and alternative medicine practices in treating patients. The goal of holistic healthcare is to address the source of their health issues while relieving any symptoms caused by them, often used alongside more traditional medical solutions like drugs.
Holistic Practitioners use both conventional medical tests such as blood tests and MRI scans and nontraditional healing practices such as acupuncture, massage therapy and herbal remedies in a holistic approach to healthcare. Holistic Practitioners believe all body systems are connected, including lifestyle choices such as diet, sleep habits and emotional well-being which impact overall health.
Many of these professionals also specialize in teaching patients how to enhance their own health with positive lifestyle choices such as exercise, proper diet, psychotherapy and stress management. They often collaborate with traditional doctors in providing patients with optimal care.