Many people are looking for a more holistic health approach to meet their health care needs these days, but don’t quite understand what it means or how it will benefit them. More and more consumers are becoming aware that our current health care system is failing us in more ways than one and some kind of action is required, but get frightened or diverted by other’s negative perceptions and skepticism of natural health which is really based on misinformation and lack of understanding.
Most skepticism of alternative health modalities is fueled by the unfortunate fact that modern medicine tries to discredit alternative means of healing because it is much more profitable for them to use surgery and pharmaceuticals, not on any real grounds for concern. The topic of alternative health always brings out the doubting Thomas’s who scream quackery and voodoo. You may hear that they tried a holistic method without any success or that they had some weird side effect or even felt worse.
Here’s a couple important points to keep in mind. Their experience may be true but that does not mean it is true for everyone and there could be other reasons that contributed to their experience. We can very easily find another group of people who had great success and no side effects with the exact same treatment method they used.
This is because not everyone’s body responds to a particular treatment or healing approach in the exact same way. Even though you may share the same health condition with someone else, each of you has a unique body chemistry and genetics and the same disease can have a different process or impact from person to person. Each of these factors influences the results that will be achieved. In addition to that, someone with a liver, lymph system, endocrine system or other organ or system that doesn’t function optimally may have a very different response than someone who has healthier organs and systems.
Just because one treatment approach is ineffective for one person, does not meant it will be ineffective for you or others and that doesn’t mean that “all” holistic health care is ineffective. Results can be completely different from individual to individual. A lot of times it requires some trial and error to find what works best with your biochemistry and specific circumstances.
Additionally, this is true whether we are talking about a holistic health method or traditional pharmaceuticals. Regardless of whether we’re talking about natural remedies or prescription drugs, what is effective for one may not work at all for another, but overall holistic health is much more effective and a lot safer. We can find hundreds of thousands of people who have severe side effects, get worse, develop more serious health conditions or even die from prescription drugs. On the other hand, these events are rare within the field of natural health.
Holistic health or alternative health has actually been around longer than prescription medication or so called “modern” medicine. Plants and herbs have been used successfully to heal by many civilizations for centuries and most pharmaceutical drugs have their roots in herbal medicine. For example, the common and popular aspirin originated from an herb called white willow bark.
However, a crucial fact that many are not aware of is that just because something is natural does not mean it will automatically be free of side effects, complications or risks. Many people doctor themselves before first doing their homework and having a thorough understanding of the method they are using.
Herbs, plants, vitamins, minerals, or any alternative treatment method can be just as potent as a prescription and requires a great deal of education and research to be sure you achieve the desired results. They should be taken or performed as prescribed by a knowledgeable health care provider. For example: some holistic remedies that are effective for depression can have a negative effect on someone with Parkinson’s.
Too much or too little of a particular herb can be ineffective, while too much of a vitamin or mineral can be just as bad as not enough. There can be complications or interactions even within natural substances, as one herb or even treatment modality such as massage or acupuncture may counteract or rev up another treatment approach and vitamins and minerals work in conjunction with one another
Additionally, herbs and other natural substances can interact with prescription medication and reduce it’s effectiveness and vice versa. Its extremely important that you consult with a holistic health care provider and disclose all medications and conditions prior to medicating yourself.
Another important issue that may impact results of a holistic health remedy is the quality of the product or service you use. It’s vital to do your homework in this area as well and only use products and services from reputable companies. The natural health field is not immune to sales hype and scamming. You must be a diligent and informed consumer regardless of what path you follow.
Breaking free from the old way of thinking that conditions us to believe that drugs and surgery are the superior method of treatment can be frightening and difficult. It may seem foreign, threatening or strange at first, but when you get the facts about holistic health, you realize that it makes a lot of sense.
Holistic health offers us an abundance of wholesome, non-toxic, affordable approaches from herbal remedies and nutritional supplements to massage, acupuncture, yoga, detoxification, changes in lifestyle, environment and diet or colon cleaning, chiropractic manipulations, meditation and many more that attempt to not only restore balance and harmony in the body, but to society and the planet as well.
It’s an empowering approach where the patient works with the health care provider as a team and is encouraged to be an active participant in the health care plan, educate themselves about their condition and engage in a variety of self-care techniques and practices.
Unlike modern medicine, which only attempts to suppress symptoms, holistic medicine attempts to correct the health condition by finding the underlying cause. Instead of stuffing everyone in a cookie cutter treatment plan, holistic health care is a whole body/mind approach that is individualized according to each person’s specific needs.
The ultimate goal is to enable each person to reach their highest sense of well-being, function as optimally as possible and live life as fully as possible regardless of the presence or absence of disease.
Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed. is an author and holistic health counselor providing no hype, straight forward, down to earth, honest talk about holistic health, natural health and green living to improve or protect your mental and physical health. Visit her site for more free holistic health care tips or ask her a question at the Holistic Health Talk Blog.
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