By Mayra Rodriguez
Through my years in college as my mind has been embracing so much new knowledge, I’ve found a new passion for holistic medicine. I’ve realized through personal experience and research that although conventional medicine is extremely important and necessary, holistic medicine is often overlooked and underappreciated.
Holistic medicine focuses on a “whole person” rather than just a disease or ailment. The quest for optimal health considers the mind, body, spirit and emotions of a person. For me, this has always made sense. The true sense of being healthy is not just being free of disease but having a great quality of life. “Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.”
A holistic doctor may use all forms of health care, from conventional medication to alternative therapies, to treat a patient. For example, if I were to see a holistic doctor with complaints of migraines, on top of prescribing medicine, he or she might also look at other factors causing the migraines, such as diet and sleep habits, stress and personal problems, and preferred spiritual practices. The treatment plan may then involve drugs to relieve symptoms, but also lifestyle modifications to help prevent the headaches from recurring. This way it’s not only the symptoms being treated but also the root of the problem.
Some lifestyle changes one may adopt to improve quality of life may be to practice yoga. Yoga is a great mind and body practice that combines physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. The reason I love to practice is because of its soothing effects; when I’m on my mat all worries seem to melt. I become more aware of the beauty that is my breath and the grounding the earth provides. Yoga flows so perfectly with the ideals of holistic medicine because it is believed to calm the nervous system and balance the body, mind, and spirit.
If you are a bit skeptic to the idea of alternative or holistic medicine (as I once was) I invite you to discover just how great it is! Just a quick Google search can open up your mind to all its benefits and wonders. Some great documentaries I recommend are Blue Buddha: Lost Secrets of Tibetan Medicine (2005), The Critical Eye: Alternative Medicine (2002) and Food Matters.