A holistic health practitioner is a doctor who specializes in seeing the body (including the mind) as a “whole” system. They are most widely known for embarking deeper into illnesses, looking for root causes and “cures” rather than merely batting away symptoms with drugs. I place “cures” in quotations because it’s essential that we analyze what that actually means. According to Merriam-Webster, “cure” simply means “recovery or relief from a disease.” This implies that disease can return to the body even after relief and/or full recovery. Holistic health practitioners practice various forms of alternative medicine. In our article titled “The Definitive Guide to Modern Medicine,” we established the definition of alternative medicine. “Alternative medicine” is the most all-encompassing, historically used terminology to describe all forms of healing outside of conventional medicine. Basically, any healing modality that’s not conventional medicine (which is often considered the primary, most scientifically proven modality) is called “alternative.” In this article, we will examine why and when to try a holistic health practitioner instead of a conventional health practitioner. We’ll also look at some different forms of alternative medicine.
Try a Holistic Health Practitioner if Your Sickness Is Not an Emergency
We should award credit to conventional medicine’s high capabilities in the face of medical emergencies. With its drugs, procedures, hospitals, nurses, surgeons, and more, conventional medicine is truly effective at keeping people alive. So in the case of a medical emergency, go to the emergency room and harness the power of conventional medicine. But, if you’re experiencing health issues or concerns that are not immediately life-threatening, then it’s a good time to try holistic health measures. A holistic medical doctor can diagnose illness just as a conventional doctor, but may use different modalities regarding tests and treatments.
Try a Holistic Health Practitioner Because They Work With “Incurable” Disease
Calling a disease completely “incurable” can be just as misleading as calling it completely “curable.” But unfortunately, this is what many conventional doctors do. They tell their patients that, since their disease is incurable, the best way forward is trying various concoctions of drugs to merely manage symptoms. The drugs may be taken long-term, which can bring about other symptoms or even other diseases. Luckily, holistic health practitioners work with these so-called “incurable” diseases such as various forms of autoimmune disease, diabetes, cancer, and even issues with bones, joints, and ligaments. Holistic health practitioners may have various forms of practice and training in alternative medicine under their belts. Let’s explore some of these in detail.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) is known as one of the oldest forms of medicine in existence, having been practiced in the East for over 2,500 years. TMC utilizes an effective synthesis of acupuncture, herbalism, massage, and overall lifestyle choices. Some popular herbs used in TMC include ginger, ginseng, gotu kola, and adaptogenic mushrooms. TMC takes a unique approach to diagnosing illness that has not been studied extensively in the West. TMC doctors assess the tongue, pulse, and overall well-being rather than just the affected area of the body. This is because TCM is rooted in the Taoist philosophy of “yin and yang” that teaches how the bodily organs work in unison to support each other.
Ayurveda is ancient India’s take on healing that is still widely used and revered. It regards the body as being constituted with levels of 3 different “doshas”: pitta, or fire, vata, or air, and kapha, or earth. Ayurveda teaches that everyone has a unique constituency of these three, and when they become imbalanced, disease forms. In terms of healing, Ayurveda uses unique blends of herbs, pranayama (breathing exercises), meditation, oil massage, specific dietary choices (depending on the doshas), and other lifestyle choices. Some practitioners of Ayurveda offer panchakarma. These retreats provide a multi-day full immersion experience in Ayurveda with days full of massage, meetings with ayurvedic doctors, and specialized herbal treatments.
A bit less specific, naturopathy uses various therapies to promote an overall return of balance to the body. Naturopathic doctors are known to diagnose, prevent, and treat chronic and acute illnesses rather than focusing on symptom suppression. Note that naturopaths aren’t considered MDs, although some MDs go on to study naturopathic medicine, thus becoming naturopathic doctors.
Finding a Holistic Health Practitioner for Your Needs
There are many options and healing modalities out there, and it may seem overwhelming to choose from them all. If you are not sure what type of holistic health practitioner is best for your particular needs, it’s best to start with a general holistic doctor as opposed to a specialist, such as an acupuncturist. Find a health care practitioner who you feel comfortable with and who listens to your concerns and considers your preferences when working out a treatment plan. When you have a collaborative relationship with your doctor, you are more willing to try out new ways to approach your health care and stay on track.
A Few Last Words from TelMD
When faced with a potentially dangerous health situation, it’s always wise to seek out a medical doctor first. When you have a firmer understanding of what’s happening in your body, then, if appropriate, it may be time to seek a naturopath or other type of professional in alternative medicine. If you are looking for an alternative approach to your health, TelMD offers you the opportunity to partner with numerous types of health and wellness professionals whose focus is on you. Sign up and fill in some basic information; you can search for healthcare providers licensed in your state & add them to your wellness team. Connect with your team members any time by using the chat feature–or schedule a virtual doctor’s appointment using TelMD’s live video chat.
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