Holistic health and Holistic Medicine gets its name from the Greek word “holos” meaning whole, in total, in full. Holism illustrates that we are a combination of many parts or aspects including physical body, chemical (e.g. hormonal), emotional self, mental, spiritual, social, linguistic etc and that as a whole we are a combination of reactions between each of these parts or aspects.
I like to compare it to a family including numerous children of different ages, each with their own needs, their own emotions, and their own reactions. When together as a group one person’s anger may trigger another family members stress, which in turn may bring up insecurity or fear for another, one member may be rooted to the spot, one may run to escape from the environment, etc. As a person, a similar chain reaction occurs internally, and Holistic health is about looking the whole person and seeing what ways we can either remove the stressor or have more control over our reactions to this stress to reduce negative reaction which could be seen as dis-ease and if not reduced or removed can become disease in our bodies.
Complimentary and Alternative Medicine – CAM
Complimentary and Alternative Medicine describes a large variety of healing disciplines, therapies or approaches used to enrich our lives by reducing stress, encourage an overall view of healthy lifestyle through self care, diet, exercise, receiving treatments from qualified practitioners, taking care of emotional and spiritual well-being, and thus encouraging homeostasis. Complimentary and Alternative Medicines can be used alone as an alternative to conventional western medicine or in conjunction with traditional western medicine.
How do Complimentary and Alternative Medicine differ?
Complimentary Medicine combines well with (or compliments) conventional medicine. For example, when a person has undergone surgery or is recovering from an illness, Complimentary Medicine, e.g. Reflexology, can offer support by encouraging the bodies own healing process, providing comfort and relaxation, and can also reduce stress anxiety or fears that the person may be experiencing. Complimentary medicine alone encourages the body to commence rebalancing, encourage healing, and promote a feeling of well-being. A complimentary therapist will take a detailed consultation prior to working with a client and where certain medical conditions may be present a letter of consent may be required from the clients Doctor
An Alternative medicine, as the name suggests is one that is offered instead of conventional medicine e.g. treating a condition such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) with diet or a combination of diet and exercise.
Integrative medicine is a relatively new term used to describe the awareness of the importance of the consultation itself between practitioner and client, the empathy given and received, the knowledge that the human body has a huge capacity for self-healing and a respect for the combining of Western/Conventional Medicines with Complimentary and Alternative Medicines.