Holistic Treatment

Holistic medicine focuses on treating the entire person and not just a disorder or affliction. Holistic health care providers believe that an individual is made up of different parts including physical, emotional, environmental and spiritual aspects. All pieces must be addressed and balanced to solve any issues, sickness or disorder, and to make a person whole.

Holistic providers do not discount traditional medicine; rather, most use it in tandem with alternative methods. Holistic treatment focuses on the idea that each person can take charge of their own well-being, and unconditional love and support are the best healers. Holistic principles include:

  • Each patient should be treated as a person and not as their disorder or disease
  • Everyone has the potential to better themselves
  • Treatment works to fix the root cause and not just the symptoms
  • A team approach where patient and health care provider work together to solve the problem should be utilized

There are many methods of holistic medicine out there today for just about every disorder. Most of the time holistic methods are combined with traditional therapy and/or pharmacology ranging from meditation to medication. As many as 40 percent of Americans look for something other than traditional, conventional or Western methods of health care, as published by the National Institute of Health. This includes holistic medicine.

Methods Used in Holistic Care

There are several other terms that are sometimes used when referring to holistic medicine, including “alternative,” “integrative” and “complementary” medicine as well as “natural healing.” It is important to recognize the difference between these terms. Alternative medicine typically refers to anything outside of what is considered conventional, although these lines are blurred and the definition of conventional seems to be widening.

Complementary medicine usually means that conventional medicine is used as the primary healing tool and other non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical means are used to complement it. Integrative medicine is a combination of conventional medicine and complementary medicine. Natural healing typically focuses primarily on the physical healing without using medications or invasive procedures. Holistic medicine is most often the preferred term in that it encapsulates all forms in healing the whole person.

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Here are some examples of tools used in holistic medicine:

  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Equine therapy
  • Massage
  • Herbal medicine
  • Homeopathy
  • Stress management
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Spinal manipulation
  • Relaxation training

The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine states that the main person in charge of the healing process is the patient. You are responsible for your own well-being. The medical practitioner serves as a guide or mentor along the path, but patients must learn to love themselves first and the rest will flow from there. These methods may include lifestyle changes as well as drastic changes in mindset and behavior. Breaking old habits can often facilitate healing across the physical, spiritual and emotional levels.


There are several other terms that are sometimes used when referring to holistic medicine, including “alternative,” “integrative” and “complementary” medicine as well as “natural healing.” It is important to recognize the difference between these terms. Alternative medicine typically refers to anything outside of what is considered conventional, although these lines are blurred and the definition of conventional seems to be widening.

Benefits Associated with Holistic Treatment

One of the main benefits of holistic medicine is that it does serve to treat the whole person and not just the current symptoms. By working to find the root cause of an addiction, for example, a person could be more likely to avoid relapse.

Holistic medicine is often a whole lifestyle change and not a quick fix. It requires a commitment from the patient and an understanding that each individual is responsible for their own well-being and sense of self. This can help those in recovery to take the reins back on issues that may have plagued their lives for years. It puts you firmly in the driver’s seat of your own life.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the key factors involved in determining an individual’s state of health. Daily lifestyle choices account for 53 percent of a person’s wellness, with quality of medical care only accounting for 10 percent. Other reasons like environment, which accounts for 19 percent, and genetics at 18 percent also play a role, but habits and lifestyle seem to be the biggest factors in determining an overall state of well-being. Holistic care focuses on this main concept.

Holistic medicine serves to be helpful and not harmful and looks first to the most non-invasive methods available. While holistic providers do prescribe medication when necessary, they may also seek natural remedies and non-pharmaceutical answers. Holistic providers may also be more cost-effective at times as they seek to use therapies and mindfulness techniques over other more expensive methods that may not be as effective long-term. By giving each individual control over their body and the healing process, providers are taking a step back.

Finding the Right Treatment

Holistic treatments may encompass many different methods of both conventional and alternative medicine, but the overarching theme is that the person will ultimately build a better, more balanced sense of self while coming to love who they are in the process. The four main elements of self are often explored and brought into balance, which can greatly aid the recovery process. The four elements are:

  • Mind
  • Body
  • Soul
  • Environment

In order to heal, one must first explore the cause or mindset that triggered the disorder. Toxic and negative thoughts should be eradicated and replaced with positive ones. Holistic medicine encourages group and individual therapy to help with redirecting thoughts and changing behaviors.

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Keeping your body healthy through exercise, proper nutrition and balance of hormones is another facet of holistic medicine. Holistic providers may encourage herbal remedies or mood-enhancing foods to help the healing and recovery process.

Spiritual healing can be more difficult and often holistic medicine encourages meditation and methods to help each person learn to accept and love who they are. Managing your environment is also an important step in the recovery process. Surrounding yourself with positive influences can help. Holistic medicine seeks to balance all four of these elements of life and believes that in so doing, recovery is possible.

Sometimes one method or a linear path just isn’t enough for long-term healing. Those suffering from addiction and depression, for example, can benefit from a holistic approach that serves the entire self. Dual diagnosis treatment offers the best in all care and serves to discover which treatment plan is right for each individual, addressing not just addiction but other co-occurring mental health issues.



If you or someone you know would like more information on how dual diagnosis care can include facets of holistic treatment, call us for more information. We’d be happy to discuss how you can get started on your journey to a healthier, happier lifestyle.

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