What are Holistic Treatments?

What are holistic treatments? Otherwise known as alternative medicine, integrative medicine, holistic practices, complementary therapies, and natural healthcare, holistic treatments are those healing practices falling outside of surgical treatments as well as those practices that are purely pharmaceutical. Some examples if holistic treatments would include massage, acupuncture, and meditation.

While holistic practices were once defined as those methods of therapy that were not offered in most hospitals as well as those not taught by medical schools, this is no longer a definition that applies. Many alternative therapies are currently taught offered in many hospitals and clinics, and their acceptance is becoming more widespread across the country. This is a reason for one of the ways to refer to these treatments: integrative therapies. Regardless of what these practices are referred to, however, they do mean the same form of natural treatments.

Can holistic practices complement the healthcare you already receive? The short answer is, yes. In many instances, holistic treatment can be the better way to go rather than conventional medicine. However, it is not a good idea to replace conventional medicine with holistic practices entirely. For example, an individual seeking cancer treatment would do well to not abandon conventional methods completely in search of botanical medicine. On the other hand, if the cancer patient decided in favor of chemotherapy, they could find great benefit in supplementing their care with a massage in between sessions. For most, this is the best way to enjoy integrative therapies – incorporated into their overall care featuring conventional medicine.

So how do you get the best of both worlds? Fortunately, many healthcare providers are recognizing that holistic treatments are better in some instances while conventional medicine is imperative in others. The best providers of care are those who are able to tailor their practices to the needs of each patient. Indeed, it is the best patient outcome that should dictate which direction to go in for the individual needs of each patient. And more and more physicians and nurse practitioners are recognizing the benefit of both forms of medicine/treatment.

Some individuals interested in holistic treatments are interested in knowing whether these are safe, and also if they are effective. Safety, of course, refers to those practices and treatments that do not cause harm to the health of the individual undergoing them, while effectiveness generally refers to whether or not the treatments work the way that they are intended. While there is no way to be 100% sure if a treatment will be effective or safe for an individual, it is beneficial to inquire as to the risks of a particular treatment. Just because something is natural does not mean it is safe for you. Another question to ask would be in regards to the benefits of the treatment. Sometimes the number of benefits overcome the number of risks. The best way to get an idea of what treatment is best for you is to speak with your healthcare provider. He or she will help you to narrow in on a method of care that is safe and effective for your overall health.

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