Holistic Medicine focuses on wellness and a strong immune system.
Many individuals seek out medical care only when they develop a symptom or an illness. For example, an individual develops a sore throat, and that individual schedules a doctor’s appointment during which a diagnosis (e.g. strep throat) and a treatment regimen (e.g. penicillin plus fever reducer) are provided. One of the greatest benefits of Holistic Medicine is that there is focus on maintaining overall wellness and balance. While an individual may utilize Holistic Medicine when he/she develops a symptom such as sore throat; the focus of Holistic Medicine is on maintaining balance of your Being, thus diminishing risk of symptom and disease in the first place. In the case of our hypothetical individual with strep throat; the emphasis would be on strengthening the immune system with techniques such as acupuncture, cold laser, chiropractic care, and others. Let’s look at how some of these Holistic principles and techniques strengthen the immune system.
- Cold Laser (also known as Low Level Light Therapy): reduces inflammation, promotes wound healing, and ameliorates pain. The term LASER is an acronym for: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. LLLT does not significantly heat living tissue (in distinction to lasers which utilize light at high energy densities for the purposes of thermal ablation and/or coagulation of living tissue). LLLT employs low power (less than 500mW) and utilizes a mechanism known as photobiomodulation. This is a process whereby photons of light in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum (as opposed to lasers which utilize ultraviolet light or infrared light) are emitted from the laser and act on a cellular organelle known as the mitochondria. Once light energy is transferred to an individual via absorption by cellular chromophores (a process analogous to photosynthesis), the cell’s innate metabolic activity is stimulated to enhance its own healing biochemical pathways. The end result is enhanced energy production, enhanced release of compounds which promote blood flow, and diminished inflammation.
- Chiropractic Care: chiropractic adjustments restore proper alignment of the vertebrae of the spine. When the vertebrae of the spine are not positioned properly, this is referred to as ‘subluxation’. Vertebral subluxation leads to a stress response in the body with a subsequent increase in sympathetic tone and increase in cortisol. The consequent results of this misalignment-induced stress response are myriad and include the following: ligamentous laxity which renders the spine prone to injury, muscle spasm, accelerated degeneration of the spine and joints. In addition, spinal nerve roots which are in close proximity to the vertebrae, are distorted and compressed; and this results in disruption of the regulation of the body systems. There is an ensuing disturbance in the communication between the brain and the nerves which govern the multiple organ systems of the body, including the digestive system, the endocrine system, the cardiovascular system, and the immune system. Chiropractic adjustments restore proper alignment of the spine, thereby restoring proper function of the nervous system and the other systems of the body which are regulated by the nervous system.
- Acupuncture: balances and enhances your vital life force (Chi) as it flows through-out your bodily system. When the flow of energy is impeded in the body, pain and illness often develop. By balancing the flow of energy in your system, acupuncture enhances the function of your immune system and increases the number of white blood cells (cells which fight infection) in your body. Acupuncture also enhances your circulatory system/promotes increased blood flow in your body; and it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to enhanced relaxation and stress reduction.
Holistic Medicine Minimizes toxicity.
Many pharmaceutical agents which are prescribed to patients, while necessary, may have potentially noxious side effects. Holistic Medicine, by focusing on wellness and disease prevention, aims to diminish the need for medications which may be associated with toxicity. For example, strengthening the immune system results in fewer infections and less potential need for antibiotic medication. Let me emphasize that when an individual is afflicted with a serious bacterial infection such as pneumonia, then completing a course of an appropriate antibiotic is necessary to combat that infection. However utilizing strategies such as chiropractic care, low level light therapy, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and others to maintain wellness is the best method of avoiding the need for antibiotics (and other prescription medications) in the first place. In the event that a patient does require a prescription medication such as penicillin; then Holistic Medicine provides strategies to counter-act associated unwanted side effects. In the case of infection, exposure to an antibiotic often leads to alteration in the normal composition of the human gut flora by killing off beneficial bacteria. This, in turn, may lead to diarrhea and cramping, immune system dysfunction, and/or development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. Probiotics, on the other hand, may be prescribed to offset the imbalance of the natural bacterial composition caused by taking an antibiotic.
Holisitic Medicine Is Tailored To Your Unique Self.
Holistic Medicine is not “One Size Fits All’, or even “One Size Fits Most”. You are a unique individual with your own bodily composition, your own belief system, your own fitness goals, and your own physical and emotional stressors. Conventional Medicine often utilizes a rigid set of guidelines which does not allow flexibility nor account for human biodiversity. In most conventional clinical settings, one set of guidelines is employed for all patients. Holistic Medicine is aimed at treating you as a unique individual. The patient himself/herself is attuned to their own needs and is highly involved in developing a set of treatment goals and objectives. Each individual patient is instrumental in constructing a total regimen of health and well-being which resonates best with their own body. In short, an Holistic Medicine physician is in close partnership with his or her patient to manifest wellness.
Holistic Medicine Builds Unified Strength – Mind, Body, Spirit.
You are more than your body. You are mind, body and spirit. True strength is a reflection of balance and health in all domains of yourself. Holistic Medicine understands that you are an integration of mind, body and spirit. Holistic Health is achieved through strategies which address all parts of yourself. These strategies encompass a potential wide variety of disciplines and methods and, as delineated above, are tailored to your unique self. Potential treatment modalities include: yoga, acupuncture, low level light therapy, hypnotherapy, chiropractic care, nutrition optimization/nutritional supplementation, reflexology, meditation, exercise, deep tissue massage, sleep optimization (sleep quantity and sleep quality), hyperbaric therapy, and, when necessary, pharmacotherapy and surgery. However, it is the duty of the Holistic Medicine practitioner to emphasize one important concept to our patients. That concept is this: your body already knows how to heal itself. Therapeutic strategies are employed by doctor and patient to enhance the body’s ability to heal and strengthen itself. The Holistic Medicine physician and the patient are in partnership to manifest this intention.