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Balancing Western Medicine With Holistic Healing

Balancing Western Medicine With Holistic Healing

As with most things in life, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all about balance. Nothing is typically all good or all bad; it is simply about how much of each thing we incorporate into our lives. This holds true for western and alternative medicine.

There are times when taking a more holistic approach to your health and well-being is highly beneficial and even a better option than western medicine. Modern medicine is not always the answer. However, there are also cases in which holistic healing is not enough, and refusing to accept western medicine treatments can be detrimental to your health.

Of course, the approach you choose to take is always up to you. You should never feel forced into choosing one or the other. It is your body and how you decide to take care of it is ultimately your responsibility. But taking a more mindful approach and balancing both western and holistic healing methods can potentially offer you a more well-rounded, healthy lifestyle and sense of wellbeing.

Understanding Alternative Medicine Treatments

Western medicine treatments often seek to suppress symptoms or aggressively attack disease in an invasive manner, whereas homeopathic and alternative medicine seek more to aid or enhance the body’s inherent healing mechanisms. However, homeopathy also shares some western medicine principles—such as the notion that like cures like.

For example, vaccines introduce small amounts of an illness into the body to activate our natural immune response to prevent disease. Similarly, some homeopathic remedies involve using small amounts of a substance, such as an herb, that in large doses would cause symptoms similar to a particular illness, but in small doses, it cures those same symptoms.

Holistic medicine, such as Ayurveda, is also rooted in the belief that our bodies suffer when they are out of balance, and thus treatment methods seek to get at the root of the problem and rebalance the system. In contrast, western medicine simply attempts to treat symptoms until they subside, rather than trying to actually figure out what is causing the issue. In this sense, many believe alternative medicine is better because it seeks to improve our health through a more thorough whole-body approach, addressing the underlying issues rather than masking them with pills.

Essentially, holistic medicine is viewed as a more personalized approach to each individual and their constitutional state. It looks at how our bodies are out of balance and what can be done to realign our system to treat the ailment versus the one-size-fits-all approach of western medicine that generally treats everyone the same way. 

Types of Alternative Holistic Treatment Options

While those that have little experience with holistic medicine may simply see it as healing through things like herbs and essential oils, there is much more to it than that. Alternative medicine comprises many different areas and methods, some of which can even overlap with western medicine.

Holistic and alternative areas of practice and treatment methods can include:

  • Ayurveda
  • Homeopathy
  • Naturopathy
  • Chinese medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic medicine
  • Massage
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi
  • Reiki
  • Qigong
  • Electromagnetic therapy
  • Herbal medicine
  • Natural supplements
  • Meditation
  • Hypnosis
  • Art and music therapy

When to Choose Western Medicine Over Alternative Medicine

Though alternative medicine has a lot to offer and is often highly beneficial and successful, it cannot cure everything, unfortunately. Some injuries and diseases do not respond well to holistic methods and are better treated through western medicine. For example, minor injuries and ailments like small cuts or a cold can respond to alternative treatments, but severe injuries and illnesses often require a trip to urgent care or the emergency room.

Ignoring a serious condition and simply relying on holistic methods to get the job done can be dangerous and put you at risk. Older cultures did treat themselves through more holistic and traditional approaches, yes, but they also did not live as easily through severe injuries and disease because they did not have access to the modern medicine we have today. It is ok to use holistic medicine when appropriate, but there are some situations in which modern medicine has more to offer.

Complementary Medicine

Complementary medicine comprises alternative and holistic methods that are used alongside western medicine approaches to treat certain issues. Many traditional healing methods can complement modern treatments to offer a patient a more thorough and balanced approach. Acupuncture, meditation, diet, and other alternative methods, for example, can be used in conjunction with modern medicine to treat a variety of diseases and conditions.

Many individuals that suffer from depression and anxiety, for example, use both prescription drugs and methods such as yoga, acupuncture, homeopathy, and herbal substances to treat their condition. GERDS (acid reflux) as well, another common disease that many suffer from, can also successfully be treated through a combination of western medicine and holistic methods.

Final Thoughts

Again, a more thorough and well-rounded approach to our health is best managed by balancing western medicine with traditional, alternative methods. Holistic medicine can help improve our body’s natural healing mechanisms, while western medicine can step in when more aggressive measures are needed. It’s all about understanding and listening to our bodies and what they need to get better.

Many practitioners and doctors today are willing to consider all available options rather than limiting you to one approach. While a western medicine doctor might not treat you themselves using holistic methods, they may refer you to someone else who can, and the two can work together to treat your condition.

Just remember that, as a patient, you have the right to speak up for yourself and what you want. You should never let a doctor or any healthcare practitioner pressure you into something that makes you uncomfortable. The right provider should listen to you and be willing to at least consider other options. It is ultimately up to you which methods you want to pursue to manage your health. Your health is your number one priority and it’s important to work with a doctor that respects your wishes.

About the author:

Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She writes about a variety of topics, and spends most of her free time in her garden. 

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Submitted Exclusively to CrystalWind.ca by Frankie Wallace © 2021 crystalwind.ca

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About the author:

Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She writes about a variety of topics, and spends most of her free time in her garden. 

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