Rising medical costs and the realization that many physical issues are caused by emotional conditions or require treatments other than standard "Western" medicines and surgery have made holistic medicine a popular system of care. Holistic or alternative forms of treatment that don't conform to the typical Western (or "allopathic") mode of treatment may involve anything from acupuncture to meditation to herbal remedies to even psychological investigation.
These methods have helped many people get better, but just as there are things allopathic treatments don't cover, there are things that holistic practitioners would send you to an allopathic doctor for. If you don't feel like allopathic medicine has helped you, then holistic modalities may hold the key to making you express total health again. The key is finding the right balance so that you get the right type of care from the right doctor or practitioner.
There Are Causes, and Then There Are CAUSES
Allopathic medicine will treat symptoms and look for the immediate cause in most cases. You will find both allopathic doctors and holistic doctors and practitioners who use elements of the other system in their treatments. But for the most part, an allopathic doctor will look at what's causing you to experience symptoms and will tackle that immediate cause. But underlying that cause could be another cause that will only create more issues in the future. That's where holistic medicine can triumph.
For example, you've been experiencing headaches when you wake up. Allopathic doctors might refer you to a sleep study that diagnoses you with sleep apnea, and then another allopathic doctor determines the cause of the apnea is extra body weight. The allopathic treatment would most likely be to lose the weight and use a CPAP machine in the meantime. The holistic practitioner, though, would also look at why you had the extra weight in the first place. (To be very clear, weight is a personal issue and should not define your treatment as a person in the medical office; however, if the weight is directly causing a health issue, then you should address it.) Maybe you stress-ate because of a terrible job, and learning meditation would help you address that stress, allowing you to drop enough weight to eliminate the sleep apnea.
Or, you might have symptoms that never seem to go away, and allopathic treatment would recommend surgery. An acupuncturist, however, might have treatments that resolve the symptoms within a few weeks.
Don't Ignore Major Symptoms in an Effort to Be Completely Holistic
It is very common for people who try holistic modalities to end up preferring those to allopathic treatments. That's great because they've found what works for them. However, if you've decided you want to use holistic medicine more and more, don't ignore symptoms that need allopathic attention. Any holistic practitioner who sees that you have a bacterial infection will prescribe allopathic antibiotics if they have the right to write prescriptions.
As you learn more about holistic health care, you'll find that the treatments are often less invasive and more gentle than allopathic treatments. Find that right balance that lets you use holistic care as much as you want while also using necessary allopathic treatments such as antibiotics.