Holistic Medicine Used in Today's Health Care
Learn How Holistic Medicine Supplements Western Medicine
Holistic medicine is now a significant part the health care industry. Many medical professionals have come to understand that addressing the mind and spirit, as well as the body, leads directly to better patient outcomes. In addition, scientific research has begun to prove that many types of holistic medicine are very effective. Holistic medicine also tends to be less expensive and less invasive, with fewer side effects.
This article explores some of the areas in which holistic medicine is being combined successfully with mainstream medical treatment.
Holistic Medicine to Increase Patient Comfort
Alternative health treatments are often used in conjunction with conventional medical treatments to make patients more comfortable. Here are a few examples of how natural medicine has been used to supplement Western health care:
- Aromatherapy is used to reduce pain and nausea following surgery
- Acupuncture is used to manage digestive upset during pregnancy
- Ginger syrup is used to reduce nausea during chemotherapy
- Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, is used to minimize the pain of childbirth
- Homeopathic or herbal remedies, such as valerian, are used to improve sleep for patients with anxiety, pain, or other discomfort
Holistic Medicine to Accelerate Healing
In addition to improving comfort, holistic medicine helps patients recover more quickly from injuries and get better results from medical procedures. Here are a few examples:
- Lymph drainage massage is used to decrease swelling and speed healing after surgery
- Guided imagery and visualization are used to improve patient response to cancer treatment
- Chiropractic care is used to help heal whiplash and ease the pain of back injuries
Holistic Medicine as Alternatives to Prescription Drugs
For non-emergency mental and physical problems, herbal medicine and supplements can often be very effective. Medical professionals often encourage patients to try over-the-counter natural remedies before prescribing stronger and more expensive conventional drugs. Here are a few examples:
- Milk thistle is used to improve liver function
- St. Johns Wort is used for depression
- Coenzyme Q10 is used to slow progression of Parkinson's disease
- Peppermint oil is used to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
Holistic Medicine to Prevent Illness
Many people turn to holistic medicine in order to avoid illness by optimizing their health and correcting unhealthy habits. Doctors and other mainstream medical professionals often recommend holistic therapies when a patient has risk factors for disease. Here are a few examples:
- Meditation practice is used to reduce stress—a leading cause of disease
- Yoga is used to increase flexibility and prevent injuries, particularly for athletes
- Dietary therapy is used to support weight loss
- Acupuncture is used to help smokers quit
Today, many medical and nursing schools offer courses in holistic medicine. In the future, we can expect more and more doctors to combine natural healing therapies with conventional interventions. This will lead to more collaboration with holistic practitioners, creating an ever more integrated health care industry.
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