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What Does Holistic Mean?

Holistic is a term that we use a lot at Mayfield Advanced Medical, but what does that term actually mean?

Treating the WHOLE person

When most people hear the word holistic, they tend to think of natural, that a holistic doctor may use natural plant medicines to treat his patient.  It is perhaps most informative to examine what the opposite of holistic means.  A thesaurus search for antonyms of the word holisitic gives us the following: deficient, fragmentary, incomplete, partial, abbreviated, reduced, scattered.  Thus, the term holistic conveys completeness, where its opposite conveys incompleteness.  

The holistic doctor would not be the opposite of a doctor who uses synthetic drugs and/or surgeries to treat his patients, but rather on the doctor who only takes a partial or incomplete view of health.  The terms holistic or holism refers to considering the whole person, problem, or idea.  In health care, holistic treatments take the whole person into account, not just his or her symptoms.  Thus, the opposite of a holistic treatment approach to a patient would be purely symptoms-based approach, and a single symptom or small set of symptoms at that.  

How does a holistic approach work?

Before answering this question, let us examine how a symptoms-based approach to a patient (that we take in regard to our own health) typically works in the healthcare system.  As a patient, we typically seek medical care when there is something wrong with us, headaches for example.  At first, we may try an over the counter medication when we get a headache.  If we are more naturally minded, we may try stretching, an essential oil blend, or a breathing exercise.  If these methods do not provide symptom relief, we may call our primary care physician or chiropractor for help with our headaches.  These providers may recommend a medication or a series of adjustments to treat the headaches or prevent their occurrence.  If they are not successful, your provider may refer you to a specialist to further investigate your headaches, their causes, and how you can find symptoms relief.