What Is Holistic Medicine?
East Meets West
Western medicine = Modern medicine
Eastern medicine = Traditional, Holistic and Alternative medicine Eastern medicine is rooted in a holistic, or whole body approach.
The physical, emotional and spiritual states of an individual are all equally important in evaluating, managing and treating an individual. Imagine a hologram, where every individual part represents the whole. It is impossible to break down a hologram into individual parts. Let’s say you have a hologram of an apple. If you cut the apple hologram in half, you are not left with two halves; you are left with two whole apples. You can demolish a hologram, but even a minute piece of the original will still reflect the whole!
Holistic medicine and its premises are no different than a hologram. You can’t heal a person by just examining and treating just one part of their body, because everything is interconnected. For example, you might be able to “fix” a person’s heart by treating a blockage with surgery. This is more of a Western approach, which focuses only on the physical symptom at hand, the blockage. This modern approach to medicine views the body as individual parts which need to be fixed. The weakness in this approach is that unless the underlying cause is addressed, the symptom will arise again in a similar or different form.
In Eastern medicine, health comes from an returning the body to its natural state of balance. “Fixing” a problem entails a deep investigation of the environment that lead to the imbalance or physical symptom and then going deeper to where the root of the problem lies. What are the person’s daily habits? How do their other organs function? Do they eat well? Are they stressed at work? Do they exercise? What are their families’ health backgrounds? What is going on in their personal lives? These are just a handful of the many questions that need to be answered in order to understand the emotional, spiritual and physical ailments of an individual person.
In Western medicine, doctors deal with individual problems. As a result, a person might have a half a dozen doctors who each specialize in one specific thing, making it incredibly hard to locate the source of a disease and find a lasting solution. It’s as if our “parts” don’t communicate to one another and each section is quarantined. In the eyes of many Western doctors, the sum of our parts equals the whole, rather than the whole expressing itself in each of the parts. I personally believe there is value in both types of medicine, but that we need more influence of the Eastern philosophies in our healing practices. This is why I choose to deal with health issues naturally first, and why I do not utilize or encourage Western medical treatment for herpes.