Homeopathic Vs. Holistic Medicine
Western medicine is based on science and research. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is generally not. It’s seen by many Western practitioners as unproven and potentially risky, especially for patients suffering from chronic or deadly diseases such as diabetes and cancer. But what exactly are the main branches of CAM? There are several, but the most widely known ones are homeopathy and holistic medicine.
Homeopathic medicine (homeopathy) originated in the 1700s and is based on the idea that the human body has the capacity to heal itself. The practice views illness – or rather, its symptoms – as the body’s attempts to heal itself. This is called the Law of Similars, where medicine can cure a sick person if it can cause the same or similar illness in a healthy person.
Its medicines are created from plants, minerals and animal products. A homeopathic practitioner chooses ingredients that support symptoms of illness instead of suppressing them. The practice does not include Western medicine in patient treatment but relies instead on the use of these preparations and tinctures to treat patients.
The practice is typically used for people who suffer from allergies, arthritis, atopic dermatitis and IBS, just to name a few. It is not meant for major illnesses, emergencies or injuries. Western doctors have questioned its effectiveness, citing a “placebo” effect of its tinctures and claim there is no basis for its practice nor is there any evidence of homeopathy’s efficacy.
Holistic medicine, on the other hand, takes into account a person’s “wholeness” in seeking wellness and health. So, a person’s emotions, body, mind and spirit all play a part in his well-being. As long as all those components stay balanced, the person will achieve and maintain “optimal” health and well-being. If one or more components are out of balance, the person’s health will suffer.
So, patients seeking holistic healing will be met with multiple solutions for their problems, some which might include facets of Western medicine.
For example, if a person suffers from stomach ulcers, he may be treated physically with traditional medication, but added holistic treatments could include dietary changes, acupuncture or naturopathy. Mentally, the healing approach could include meditation or visualization techniques.
Holistic medicine purports that people are responsible for their own health and well-being, and that they are not defined by disease. Effective treatment involves identifying and correcting the root cause of the patient’s condition and not just allaying its symptoms.
Western doctors have been a little less harsh with their opinions about the efficacy and placebo effects of holistic medicine, likely because it doesn’t fully turn its back on Western medicine, but employs it in addition to alternative treatments.
We aren’t telling you one branch of medicine is necessarily better than the other, but before you go wandering off into the forest of alternative medicine, check with your conventional doctor first. The ultimate decision is up to you, as is all the due diligence to make sure you’re armed with accurate information. It’s likely that Western doctors won’t object to these treatments, as long as any tinctures, herbs or foods you’re ingesting don’t offer contraindications to the Western medications you’re currently taking.