The model of holistic health looks at the whole body not just isolated symptoms. DNA is found in every cell of our body, so each cell contains the information for the whole body.
This means that every part of our body is related to every other part of the body.
Let’s take digestive problems for example, and relate it to a holistic model. The cause of digestive problems can be related to our nervous system, hormones, emotions, blood flow, lymphatic drainage, nutritional deficiencies, structural imbalances, the food we put into it, acupuncture meridians, etc… the list can go on and on. Then we can flip this around the other way and ask what types of problems can a poor digestion create? You will see a similar list as above. This is true of any part of the body. A doctor who practices holistic medicine has to be aware of all these relationships to truly find the cause of the problem. This is why holistic doctors treat people and not symptoms. Because for any symptom, the whole person needs evaluation to identify and treat the cause.
Most conventional doctors use what is called the cookbook approach to treating patients. They treat a health condition in the same manner with every patient. Using the holistic model, we could take ten different patients with low back pain and each one of them could have this symptom for a different reason. There may be a similar herb, medication, or surgery that will improve their symptoms. But that does not find the reason they are having the symptoms in to begin with. Natural medicine focuses on using natural substances to help with the symptoms we suffer from. Sometimes this may resolve the cause of the problem, while other times it may only relieve our symptoms, much like an aspirin will relieve a headache.
Well, what is wrong with using an aspirin or a supplement for a headache? Let me use an analogy here to illustrate my point. Say you are sleeping in your bed and the smoke alarm goes off. You wake up out of a sound, peaceful sleep. You are furious that you have been disturbed. You take the battery out of the smoke alarm so you can get back to sleep. This does not sound logical because there is a good chance that your home is burning down. This is what many of us do when we take an aspirin or supplement to mask a symptom. The smoke alarm (or symptom), is telling us to wake up, see what the problem is and fix it. Taking an aspirin is usually not the best answer. We can use natural remedies to help with symptoms, but this may only be a little better than the aspirin if it is not treating the cause of the problem.
Here is the difference between conventional medicine (aspirin), natural medicine (natural remedy) and Holistic Medicine (finding the cause of the problem). The doctor using holistic medicine will understand that there can be many causes of a headache. While an aspirin or a natural remedy may help the pain, there is likely an underlying problem that will cause the headache to return. There is also the possibility that the headache could turn into a more serious health problem, if left untreated.
As I mentioned above, a holistic doctor is a people doctor.
We are able to identify what is causing a health problem, find out why, and supply what is needed to restore balance.