What is Holistic medicine?
Western medicine excels in emergency situations. For heart attacks, broken bones, severe infections, Western medicine often gives much more immediate relief. Unfortunately, as Western medicine has become more specialized, the trend has been to focus so narrowly on each part of the body and quickly suppressing symptoms that it becomes easy to lose sight of the big picture – including the underlying imbalance that lead to those symptoms in the first place. This is why Western medicine often falls short for patients with chronic pain, allergies, arthritis, etc, where one is dealing with internal imbalances leading to ongoing or relapsing symptoms.
In arthritis or allergies, for example, Western medicine prescribes drugs like antihistamines or corticosteroids to suppress the symptoms for the comfort of the patient but does nothing to solve the underlying disease. In fact, used long term, some of these drugs actually accelerate the disease, and can have other side effects that damage the body over time.
Eastern medicine, on the other hand, bases its whole philosophy on the idea that poor health is a result of imbalance brought on by one or more factors, and that to restore good health one must look beyond the obvious symptoms to restore balance in the entire body and mind. This is why Eastern medicine excels at resolving difficult chronic problems – it re-establishes and supports the body’s own natural mechanisms of immunity and repair.
In Holistic medicine, the basic idea is to look at the “whole” patient instead of focusing only on individual parts or systems. Integrated veterinary medicine strives to blend the best of both Western and Eastern medical philosophies, in an effort to develop a complementary system of therapies for each individual patient. Diagnosis is based on a combination of physical exam, standard lab work, in depth history, and response to therapies.
Integrative treatments often involve the administration of a specially selected combination of therapies. A therapy plan may include basic nutrition, special nutritional therapy, acupuncture, western medicines, herbs, physical therapy, behavioral training, chiropractic, homeopathy, surgery and/or other modalities of treatments – it all depends on what works best for that individual patient.
Holistic therapies can be used to treat arthritis, allergies, autoimmune disease, respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal disease, ear problems, kidney disease, liver disease, urinary tract problems and a host of other diseases and injuries.