Is Holistic Healthcare the Same As Alternative Healthcare?

by Lee Pham


Holistic health encompasses the entire person including the physical body, the emotional well being and the spiritual connection. The focus is much clearer than just getting rid of symptoms of various ailments or diseases. Holistic often puts emphasis on the relationship between the various parts and the whole. It considers a person a complete system and does not separate the parts either they are solid or ethereal. In today's medical community you can not separate holistic out of the allopathic community.

Before identifying who is and who is not holistic in their approaches let's take a look at alternative healthcare. You'll find it does not matter who is wearing the scrubs when considering historic. Alternative doctors are just as likely to wear a scrubs uniform as an allopathic doctor. The term alternative health carefully means it is a healing practice that does not fall into the realm of "conventional medicine." The list is long but the common examples include homeopathy, naturopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic and herbal medicine. You will often find alternative healthcare or medicine grouped with the term complimentary medicine. Many alternative practitioners are not in favor of the grouping of complementary and alternative medicine or CAM. That would be like grouping dentistry with podiatry.

The difference between alternative and conventional medicine is interesting in that it is not a two way street. Alternative practitioners are limited by what they can do and claim due to the laws and protections in place for the welfare of the public. Alternative healthcare practices are vast and varied. They come from every corner of the planet and may include traditional and pre-scientific understandings of medicine. That is, they have not or can not be assessed scientifically to prove their safety and efficiency. However, if a particular practice is scientifically investigated and the effectiveness of the alternative medicine is established, it can then be adopted by conventional practitioners.

Herein lies one of the opportunities to explain that both alternative and conventional healthcare can be romantic or not. Just because it is alternative does not mean it is holistic. The practitioner can focus on a particular symptom and not be concerned with the whole. The same goes for an allopathic doctor who practices conventional medicine. However, there are many conventional practitioners who are beginning to see the benefit of holistic practices and have broadened their scope of options to offer their patients that would have been outside the realm of conventional medicine in years past.

It is still probably safe to say that more alternative healthcare practitioners seem to focus on the whole person than allopathic doctors. It is refreshing to know that just because a person wears medical scrubs does not put them in one camp or the other. Holistic and alternative are two different things. Holistic is a philosophy that can be adopted by anyone in the medical community. Alternative only means it is outside the realm of conventional healthcare.


Source by Alice Lane

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