Natural Health, Holistic Health, Integrative Medicine. What does it all mean?

Natural Health, Holistic Health, Integrative Medicine. What does it all mean?


Natural Health, Holistic Health, Integrative Medicine – What does it all mean?

For starters natural health, integrative medicine, and holistic health are all terms that generally represent the same thing. However, just like a name can be spelled in different ways, the unique spelling is still meaningful to the individual who encompasses the name. Similarly, when one claims to be a holistic healer, they are indeed representing that which they deem is holistic healing.

To me, it’s all a matter of semantics. But, since to some these terms are not considered “scientific” or “proven,” I think it’s important to try to break down the meaning behind the terms.  These terms can each be its own blog post, but I’ll try to get to the point.

Let’s begin with Natural Health. One may ask, “what is natural health?”

Natural Health is a health model that only looks to nature for cures and answers to irregularities in a person. It focuses on prevention and health lifestyle choices. Natural health promotes nutritional supplements, natural whole foods, physical exercise, and stress management techniques. The concept of religion, creation of life, or mysticism, has nothing to do with natural health. The main focus is to use inexpensive natural therapies to create positive health and wellness outcomes. One core belief in Natural Health is called Vitalism. Vitalism means all healing is self-healing. The body has its own innate ability to heal through its own vital energy, and vital force.

 Next, let’s look at Holistic Health. What does Holistic Health mean?

Holistic Health is not a concept, but an approach to living. Holistic Health does not focus on a specific illness or part of the body it looks at the health of a person on a whole and the interactions with their environment. The goal is for the individual to function at their very best and to maximize well-being. Holistic Health highlights the interrelationship between the mind, body, and spirit. It believes in the law of nature that a whole is made up of interdependent parts. The parts it is referring to are the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual makeup of the person. When one part is not functioning at an optimal level, it affects the rest of the parts. You can think of it as a web. For instance, if you are anxious about presenting a speech to a group of people, you may in turn feel a physical reaction in the form of a headache or stomachache. Concurrently, if one has suppressed feelings of anger, it can turn into a serious illness such as arthritis or heart disease.

 What about Integrative Medicine? I hear it being used a lot lately. What does it mean?

Integrative Medicine is a health approach that combines the best conventional medicine with other specific therapies, which are shown to be safe and effective. Integrative Medicine focuses on health and wellness, instead of disease. It favors, low-tech, low-cost interventions as much as possible and also draws in therapies related to different cultures and ideas. Integrative Medicine emphasizes the essential role of a practitioner-patient relationship and factors in a patient’s overall health experience. When looking at the whole person, Integrative Medicine examines the physical and nonphysical factors that affect the person, including the psychosocial and spiritual aspects of their life.

In conclusion, I think it is important to define Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). CAM is a group of medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not considered to be a part of conventional medicine. Conventional medicine is defined as a system where medical doctors and health professionals, such as nurses and pharmacists treat diseases and symptoms using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Although, CAM is grouped together, complementary medicine and alternative medicine are different.

Complementary Medicine is just that, complementary. Complementary medicine is used alongside conventional medicine. An example would be to use acupuncture to ease pain after cancer treatments.

Alternative Medicine is an alternative to conventional medicine. This means, conventional medicine is not used. Instead, another form of treatment is conducted. Some alternative therapies are Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Ayurveda, Biofeedback, Homeopathy, Hypnotherapy, Meditation, Nutritional Therapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Yoga.

I hope you all understand the basic differences between these healing modalities. Stay tuned for more posts!

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