Holistic health is a non-medical path to well-being. It sees the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of life as closely interconnected and balanced. Advocates of holistic health typically use a wide variety of alternative practices, the most common of which include: Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Chiropractic, Homeopathy, Massage Therapy, Naturopathy, Nutrition, Osteopathy, and Physical Therapy.
The practice of acupuncture is based on the philosophy of yin and yang—two opposite forces that govern all aspects of life, including health. Ailments result from an imbalance of these two forces, which is caused by the disruption or blockage of energy, or chi, in the body.
Acupuncturists commonly use thin metal needles as a means of stimulation to points along specific energy pathways, or meridians, to help chi flow freely. Massage, heat, lasers and magnets are also used as an alternative to the needles.
Aromatherapy refers to the use of essential oils extracted from herbs, trees and plants for therapeutic purposes. Aromatherapists can recommend personally tailored scents for specific ailments, or to promote well-being.
Treatment generally involves the mixing of essential oils with a neutral one, such as vegetable oil. Three examples of application include having the mixed oil spread over the body in a massage, added to bathwater or inhaled.
Focusing on the vital relationship between the nervous system and your health, chiropractic restores health and well being by removing spinal nerve interference known as vertebral subluxation. This is done, without the aid of drugs or surgery, most commonly to help treat various problems involving bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Generally, a chiropractor manually applies a controlled force to the problem area, alleviating inflammation, reduced mobility or pain. Chiropractors are also trained to give advice on lifestyle and dietary changes.
The health of your teeth can impact your overall health. Did you know that gum disease has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes? With nearly a third of Americans susceptible to gum disease, dental health is key to well-being. While daily dental hygiene is imperative, preventive care is just as crucial.
Homeopathy is a holistic form of medicine that treats illnesses through the use of extreme dilutions of herbs, animal substances and chemical compounds. The term homeopathy comes from the Greek homeo meaning "similar," and pathos meaning "suffering." Samuel Hahnemann, an 18th-century German physician, coined the term in 1796.
Therapeutic massage, manipulating body tissue with the hands, heals muscles and promotes better circulation. It is effective for patients who suffer a range of conditions from arthritis to paralysis and is often used to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Naturopathy is a blend of different therapies, all attempting to restore the body to health in the most natural way possible. Based on the idea that the body has the innate ability to fight disease, its techniques are noninvasive and designed to stimulate the body's natural healing powers.
Nutrition and Diet Therapy
Nutrition and diet therapies educate people about the connection between food and health. Nutritionists and dietitians promote good eating habits to help prevent disease and to treat preexisting conditions. They work with a patient's unique biological makeup to plan a diet regimen that will facilitate his or her return to optimal health.
Osteopaths practice medicine just like medical doctors. But osteopaths are distinguished by their holistic philosophy. They believe a proper working musculoskeletal system is at the core of a person's well-being. These physicians use techniques like osteopathic manipulative treatment, to help diagnose illness and injury and encourage healing.
Following extensive assessment and diagnosis of a disease or disability, physical therapy seeks to rehabilitate the body through movement and touch. Exercise and massage are two main applications of therapeutic treatment. Patients of physical therapy include accident victims and sufferers of debilitating conditions such as strokes, lower back pain, head injuries, heart disease and cerebral palsy.