When you talk to various people, holistic meaning to each person can be quite different. Throw in talk about alternative medicine and you might be in for quite a ride. My definition of holistic brings it all back to where we began - nature. However, holistic health does not have to be black and white, you are in or you are out where conventional medicine is concerned. There is a middle ground, and I believe I found it...
How I Define Holistic From Personal Experience
When I define holistic, I see my body functioning like dominoes. Everything is directly connected. My holistic approach definition is simple and it forever changed my life.
Holistic Meaning To Me
How I Discovered And Healed Through Holistic Health
Holistic meaning to me might be different than it is to you...and that's ok. You see, I just am not comfortable in a black and white world. Truth be told, people have cringed when I've mentioned the word holistic, due to such negative press it receives. Many people also take liberties and mix it in with alternative medicine and instantly I am a person who will only turn to chewing on some root to cure my terminal illness. How sad that true healing and feeling better can get put aside with such negative stereotyping.
My introduction to the holistic approach story is long, but I will make it brief. Even as I type, I see I could do about 20 articles on the various experiences I've had as I slowly evolved from just relying on conventional medicine into seeing conventional physicians extremely rarely. Honestly, I've been a "student" on my own for over ten years now...I could never put it all into one article. It took a long time to get to the point where I always choose alternative versus conventional medicine.
I mentioned the "domino effect" approach earlier, that I believe in 100%. We hit a deer years ago, and this photo you see was the result. If this was your car in this condition, would you take it to a muffler shop, then a tire shop, then a body shop, then a brake specialist...or would you give it to one person who understood the whole picture and put it back together again? I needed to find someone who could look at this photo and not just say "I think you need a new muffler."
Let me say that I was a typical American in a fast paced world before getting sick. Eating on the run, looking for convenience meals and running to the doctor whenever I felt ill. In 1998, I had my gallbladder out which I will regret for eternity given the side effects. In 2003, at only 34 years of age, I allowed conventional medicine to give me a total hysterectomy (including ovary removal) which I will also regret indefinitely.
But those surgeries, believe it or not, weren't enough to change my views of modern medicine. It was when I started getting sick, really sick, and conventional medicine could do nothing to help me for nearly a year. All they did was ship me from specialist to specialist, where I told my story over each time, to no avail. Yet a visit to an MD who left mainstream medicine and went completely holistic "cured" me by thinking outside of the box...he found the root of my ailments and it changed my life.
My Holistic Approach Definition - Continued
So Here Is What Happened And How I Healed Holistically
So here is what led me to the holistic approach. I kept getting colds and respiratory infections, so I saw a primary care physician. I had female issues still, so I saw a gynecologist. My hair was thinning, I was getting high cholesterol for no reason, fatigued all of the time but no answers were found. I had vertigo and saw a neurologist. I had tremendous ear pain (no sign of infection) and went to an EENT specialist. I had to fight to see an internist, versus primary care doctor, because I knew I contracted rare Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, but other doctors didn't believe me (by the way, she tested me for it and yes, I did have it). Thank goodness I had health insurance...I see why we need it so badly! I could never afford all of those visits. However, none of them helped me...not one.
Then I heard about two nationally respected and recognized MD's who became holistic, after being "fed up" with conventional approaches...and can you believe the luck, one was close to my home in Montana? I was desperate so I made an appointment. Of course, insurance wouldn't cover this "witchcraft" so I paid out of pocket.
Long story short, my body was failing and falling apart and we merely needed to find the cause. It turns out I had extensive food allergies (here comes the domino part of the ride). My intestinal tract constantly in flux interfered with my ability to absorb nutrients from food, supplements, etc. This malnutrition state led to my immune system falling apart, allowing autoimmune disease to move in...specifically, Hashimotos which attacked my thyroid. With a bad thyroid, I had hormonal chaos which led to the cholesterol, hair thinning, fatigue and weight gain. On and on it goes...
Moral of the story - my body, once given natural foods and ceasing the non-foods I was putting into it, plus the allergens, began to repair itself. No drugs needed. No cholesterol lowering meds, no hormones, no pain medicines, no antibiotics all chipping away to suppress my symptoms. Nope, I found the cause, eliminated it and began to heal.
I was on thyroid medicine for two years as I healed (yes, my doctor isn't against all medicine) until I got so much better, I actually didn't need it anymore (I was one of the lucky ones). In sum, we didn't suppress symptoms...my doctor looked at my whole body and saw the domino effect. He found the cause and I completely healed, head to toe. Even my excess weight poured off of me without dieting and my cholesterol went back to normal without changing a thing.
My Holistic Doctor And The Other Famous Holistic Doc
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|Dr. Wright's Guide to Healing With Nutrition (The Keats Health Reference Library)|
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The Problem With Others Who Define Holistic Approach Inaccurately
This Includes The Stigma Of Alternative Medicine
Others who are against alternatives to conventional medicine, in my opinion, are causing many to continue with a life of being unhealthy and in misery - which isn't necessary. I cannot understand the threat and the backlash. For example, I was looking up cute items to post on this article, or a good definition from wiki, but found such bias that I decided to just give it up.
Statements like "nothing but placebo effect" and ridicule at alternative medicine myths reminded me of why I stopped discussing this topic for so long, not having the mental energy to "fight" to help others. But I care for people and so this article is long overdue. Guess you can blame it on my bear totem.
Here are my main points, in easy to read format as statements I've heard against holistic medicine - I do hope they offer some help to those who are deciding to step into the gray area, leaving black and white behind:
Alternative medicine/holistic medicine doesn't work, end of story!
You're right, actually. It doesn't work. Not if you don't change your lifestyle and eliminate the cause of your illness. Never in history have we had so much cancer, diabetes ...and these autoimmune diseases and "new" diseases that never existed! If for a moment you can recognize that civilization has only sped up this much in the last century (processed foods, microwaves, fast food, over the counter medicines) and right along with it has come this plethora of diseases, perhaps you can take a moment to ponder why this might be.
Think about this: Custer's Last Stand was only 136 years ago, and I guarantee they didn't ride a horse to McDonald's, throw a frozen pizza in the microwave or have their cell phone in their holsters. Only 136 years! So many have blinders on, thinking what exists today has always been. Even in my 43 years I cannot believe the changes I've witnessed in my lifetime.
The theory is quite simple: to have a strong immune system, we need nutrition. Our bodies rarely get anything that resembles real food anymore. In addition, because this non-food upsets our stomachs, we take OTC antacids to further reduce the quantity of stomach acid needed to digest the "food" properly (absolutely read the book above, "Why Stomach Acid Is Good For You," to see that our bodies actually give us the quantity of acid we need...we aren't all suffering from a rare overproduction of stomach acid!). Without nutrition, our immune systems fall apart. With weak immune systems, we become very, very sick people who are prone to cancers and many diseases. Again, so many "new" diseases were never, ever heard of in Custer's time.
Doctors Save Lives!!!
Absolutely. One can open their minds to holistic and alternative medicines and still appreciate how many lives are saved thanks to medical professionals. Those who seek holistic medicine do not hate doctors (though the animosity toward holistic doctors is very disappointing). The key is to know when to use which approach for your overall health. I will never, ever go from specialist to specialist again in the conventional medicine realm, when they won't take time to put the domino pieces together. I was sick a very long time because of this approach to modern medicine.
It's All Witchcraft
No, it isn't. The alternative therapies I take, now that I've changed my lifestyle, work beautifully. I haven't had to see a doctor for any ailment in over 5 years. I boost my immune system with garlic, maitake and wild oil of oregano. I drink a rice protein shake full of nutrients which are best absorbed in liquid form (instead of a tablet). I have an entire cabinet of different natural therapies for different ailments, taken as needed...and they work, absolutely. But no, if you don't heal your body and make lifestyle changes, your immune system will still be weak and susceptible to all sorts of things. It won't work any better than throwing a water balloon on a house fire would. It tries to extinguish the fire, but the flames are too big to make an impact.
But I Need My Pharmaceuticals
This one causes such controversy and animosity between opposing sides. On the one hand, what if some of your ailments (remember, so many illnesses prevalent today didn't exist!) could be reversed by finding the source of the problem and reversing it? My personal example, if I didn't step outside of the conventional medicine box, could have resulted in numerous prescriptions. Now I need zero.
I know drugs can save lives - absolutely no argument and living in the gray area, I can say "thank you" for science finding ways to keep me and my loved ones alive. At the same time, many are prescription drugs absolutely dangerous and can cause many more ailments.
After my hysterectomy, I knew nothing about hormones. The doctor told me to "wear this estrogen patch for life." Within months, I was miserable from side effects. Then I did research on synthetic estrogen and made the personal choice, after my research, that I was increasing the risk of cancer by continuing on this big business path. Now, I only take natural, compounded hormone creams and keep tabs on my levels...never had a problem since. I've also told my daughter I will do whatever it takes to keep megadoses of synthetic estrogen out of her mouth via birth control pills, when she is older, if she decides to take that road.
I will also share that I know more people than not who have had dangerous reactions to drugs. Even my dog had a near lethal reaction to the antibiotic Cephalexin. Me? I was in the ER from sulfa, got welts from penicillin...and these are just "harmless" antibiotics. After hysterectomy surgery, I had to be admitted back in the hospital because the pain medicine slowed my system and I developed ileus - thousands of dollars in hospital stay and no food by mouth until it resolved.
Medicines do wonderful things and they also risk lives...that is the gray area of conventional medicine. The dark side for me is that Big Pharma is Big Business now...a pill for everything...not because you necessarily need it, but simply because our society looks for easy ways to keep living the lifestyle that causes the damage and a miracle pill to suppress the symptoms...so they can keep doing the things that cause the problem in the first place. For me, I like to save a lot of money and avoid constant visits to doctors by just simply finding the problem.
As my holistic doctor always says...EVERYTHING happens for a reason...EVERYTHING.