When it comes to acute conditions such as broken bones, raging infections, stroke, heart attack, or trauma injury, traditional western medicine has a great advantage over holistic medicine in terms of addressing the conditions quickly, thoroughly and in ways that are just not possible with natural approaches to health.
Traditional western medicine also has a myriad of sophisticated diagnostic tools ranging from blood work to digital mammograms that can help detect and prevent disease in ways that are not available with holistic methods.
Yet, when it comes to chronic conditions, illnesses that linger in the body, holistic approaches often offer a more effective opportunity to balance root issues that cause disease.
Holistic techniques often involve the use of herbal medicine, aromatherapy and various bodywork therapies ranging from acupuncture, dietary changes, healing exercise, acupressure, medical qi gong, massage and chiropractic adjustments.
Many people who partake of holistic methods may find that they are able to work with their medical doctors to lower dosages or eliminate pharmaceutical medications as their health improves.
However, there are also cautions about holistic approaches. Some practitioners advocate the use of mega-dosages of certain supplements, colonics and parasitic cleanses, and strong detoxifying herbs. While these approaches can be helpful, they are not appropriate for all people, especially for individuals with fragile systems.
Also people, without formal training, may take it upon themselves to try to self-treat or suggest holistic remedies to friends or family members with no knowledge of how such remedies might impact the body other than what they’ve read in books. They think, “Well, it’s all natural so what could it hurt to try this or that?”
Natural does not always mean safe.
For example, one client listened to a relative’s advice to engage in colonic and parasitic cleanses that contained high levels of magnesium and potassium and cooling herbs. Yet, this client had weak kidneys and other health issues that made these therapies contraindicated.
The result? She is now on dialysis twice a week because such natural approaches permanently damaged her kidneys.
The best way to partake of holistic care is to work with a certified or licensed professional who has experience with assessing which natural remedies are most appropriate for your specific body and health challenges.
Such professionals are trained to consider all the factors impacting health to optimize healing in a balanced way with various natural healing protocols.
In addition to developing balanced protocols, some practitioners like myself emphasize a complementary and integrative approach instead of alternative approach. Thus, integrative holistic practitioners support the work of western medical professionals by using herbs and acupressure to enhance western based therapies so that clients get the best of both worlds.
For clients who wish to go the all-natural route, an integrative practitioner will explore if that is most beneficial on an individual basis instead of taking the position that natural is always better.
In contrast, an alternative practitioner will tend to emphasize that natural is the best way and rarely will recommend integrating western medical strategies, although responsible alternative practitioners will also acknowledge the limitations of their scope of practice and make referrals to medical physicians when appropriate.
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