As women, we have many ways with which to approach our health from a holistic perspective. As you most likely know, holistic medicine focuses on the whole person and tends to look at things from the lens of mind, body, and spirit.
How does a holistic approach differ from a more conventional approach? A conventional or allopathic approach to health favors pharmaceutical medicine as the best course of action for numerous diseases. However, one of the criticisms of this approach is that the drugs tend to mask symptoms rather than cure them. In other words if you stop taking the drugs your symptoms will return.
Another problem with this approach is the possibility of unpleasant and unwanted side effects from the drugs. In some cases, the side effects are even worse than the initial complaint.
A holistic approach, by contrast, typically tries to discover the root cause of the problem and by treating and curing the root cause, the disease no longer occurs.
Examples of holistic medicine
There are many, many different holistic medical approaches that can be explored. Some of the more commonly known ones are listed below, with a brief description outlining how each one works.
• Acupuncture. Acupuncture is a 5000-year-old Chinese approach to wellness. It works by inserting tiny needles into special points in the body’s energy or meridian system. When the energy is blocked, disease occurs. When the energy flows smoothly, you feel healthy. The needles help regulate the flow of energy, or Qi, causing deep relaxation and healing to occur. Women’s problems that respond especially well to acupuncture include menstrual irregularities, menstrual pain, childbirth, postpartum depression.
• Herbalism. Herbologists use the medicinal properties from plants to treat illness. Plant medicine can be powerfully effective and again, has been known about and practiced around the globe for thousands of years. The healing properties of plants were understood and utilized by ancient peoples, tribes, and societies since the dawn of time. Experts say that raspberry leaf tea is known to help with menstrual cramps. Nettles are known to have very strong nutritional value and can be used for allergies, including hay fever, asthma, and eczema.
• Massage. There are a number of different kinds of massage but studies have shown massage is known to reduce stress and muscular tension, promote relaxation, elevate mood and stimulate circulation of lymph and blood. Thus, massage can be beneficial for improving cardiovascular health, may be good for depression, and is known to detoxify the system. With massage, you need regular sessions to experience ongoing results.
• Homeopathy. This approach was developed 200 years ago in Germany by Samuel Hahnemann and is based on the idea that “like cures like.” Minute doses of a substance are given to a sick person that in a healthy person would cause symptoms of the disease.
Interestingly there is no science to validate this form of medicine, as scientifically the doses contain nothing medicinal, the dose is so tiny. However in the hands of competent homeopath amazing results have been achieved, according to anecdotal evidence.
Some women’s complaints that homeopathy is known to be good for include mastitis, hormonal irregularities, and issues during pregnancy.
This is a very brief introduction to a very large topic but all the above mentioned holistic approaches are known for their efficacy in treating health problems, including health problems specific to women. These methods have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years.
More research is needed but science is starting to find evidence that supports the anecdotal documentation that keeps people coming back for more.