Benefits of Holistic Medicine
A holistic approach is a popular alternative to standard medical treatments in America.
Functional medicine doctor, Josh Shields, who acquired a background in chiropractic care, states that holistic medicine “takes into consideration the mind, the body, and the environment that we’re in. It affects our health. It’s not one thing that makes us unwell. Typically, it’s a combination of multiple factors or multiple stressors over time that start to cause the body to break down.”
The goal of holistic practitioners is to educate people by assisting them in recognizing and addressing the stresses that may impede their body’s unique healing capacity. Shields says, “The job of the holistic practitioner is to bring awareness to the client, to the patient, of what stressors might be interfering and affecting their body’s ability to heal itself.”
The foundation of the holistic approach is the idea that the body may operate in harmony when stresses are eliminated from it. According to Shields, the body’s capacity for healing and functioning at its best depends on maintaining this balanced state. He goes on, “When the body is in a state of harmony, it’s going to be able to heal and function properly. It’s when we have a state of dysfunction or something interferes with that body’s ability to heal that we start to experience disease, which means lack of ease in the body.”
An essential component of holistic medicine is its focus on harmony and treating the underlying causes of disease. By treating the root causes of illness, holistic practitioners like Shields seek to assist patients in achieving a state of balance and well-being.
In order to find imbalances and deficits in patients, Shields uses advanced testing. “For example, we see people that have nutritional deficiencies, like vitamin D,” he says, emphasizing the significance of responding to the body’s physiological demands. “It’s just an example of what we do as practitioners, as different functional practitioners. For example, chiropractors look for an imbalance in the system called a subluxation. A subluxation is a misalignment of the vertebra that puts pressure on the nerves and impedes the function of the nerves,” Shields continues.
This thorough strategy covers lifestyle, nutrition, and mentality. Shields and other holistic practitioners see beyond the symptom-focused approach taken by traditional medical treatment. Their goal is to locate deficiencies and imbalances that could be causing health problems.
When asked about common health concerns, Shields names obesity, chronic fatigue, and anxiety as the three most prevalent problems. These problems are frequently brought on by a buildup of stresses that show up cognitively, emotionally, and physically. He clarifies, “One of the tenets we like to use in our office is that we have to eat well, move well, sleep well, think well, connect well, and lastly, we need to function well.”
In order to address these issues, Shields explores the patients’ histories, examining the situation and elements that led to their problems. “We really want to focus on what’s hindering them from living the life they want to live. What do they feel like is holding them back?” Shields says. This method acknowledges the significant influence that mental and emotional stresses may have on one’s physical health and overall well-being.
When it comes to standard medical techniques, holistic medicine offers a number of significant benefits. Shields highlights these benefits by stating, “Holistic medicine is more about treating the symptoms of the pathology or the disease in the body than the actual disease process. It is a preventative approach. Holistic practitioners encourage healthy lifestyle changes to prevent illnesses from occurring.”
In contrast to pharmaceuticals and invasive procedures, natural treatments and lifestyle modifications are frequently employed in holistic medicine and have fewer adverse effects. Patients who get holistic medicine are also given the ability to actively engage in their treatment plans and healthcare decisions. Shields says, “They know that they’re coming to us because they know they’re going to make a transformation. They know they’re going to have to commit to their health, and they know it’s going to take time.”
Although holistic medicine offers a potentially effective strategy for health and well-being, there are drawbacks. Shields points out as a possible drawback the patients’ need for dedication and constant effort. “The main reason is that it takes work. It takes work on the patient’s part,” Shields says.
Shields clarifies that the goals of the two strategies, holistic and conventional medicine, are different. While holistic medicine focuses on prevention and preserving optimal function, conventional medicine excels at managing diseases and providing immediate assistance.
Shields emphasizes that patients are able to obtain both kinds of treatment nonetheless. People can use holistic medicine for long-term well-being and conventional care for emergency situations; they don’t have to choose between the two.
“People can still get both. You don’t have to do either-or. It’s not an either-or question. We do live in an ‘and’ world. You can have both. You can have medical care because it’s necessary. It has its place,” Shields says.
“I don’t see how, though, those conversations are so vastly different that it’s like being the jack of all things and not the master of one,” Shields says, “I feel like they will always be in separate boxes and entities.” He acknowledges that although efforts have been made to combine various methods, their distinct objectives frequently cause them to stay apart.
“When the body has less stress, it’s going to have fewer symptoms,” emphasizes Shields, highlighting the close relationship between stress and symptoms. He continues by saying that treating stress may often be the main course of therapy for ailments like headaches, adding that “those other things can contribute to those symptoms and just contribute to stress.”
Stress plays a crucial part in the development of symptoms; as Shields explains, “When we’re stressed, the body shows symptoms, and the symptoms usually show up where the patient is usually the weakest in their body.” Practically speaking, this implies that people commonly experience symptoms in the most sensitive parts of their bodies. For example, when someone experiences more stress—whether it be biological, emotional, environmental, or physical—chronic headaches may continue or get worse.
He goes on to say, “That’s where it keeps showing up the rest of their lives whenever they do have stress. If somebody has chronic headaches, the more stress they have physically, emotionally, environmentally, and biologically, then the headaches are going to show up.” These enduring symptoms are set off by stress, which creates a vicious cycle of discomfort and health problems.
In addition, holistic therapies such as herbal medicines, chiropractic care, and acupuncture provide an alternative to conventional painkillers and prescription medications. These therapies emphasize the significance of treating the underlying causes of pain and frequently utilize natural, non-invasive methods with fewer side effects.
Holistic methods have the potential to improve sports performance and recuperation. While adaptogenic herbs and herbal supplements can enhance endurance and reduce inflammation caused by exercise, massage treatment helps muscles heal, promotes flexibility, and lowers stress levels. Athletes who practice mindfulness and meditation are better able to focus, control their stress levels, and get better sleep.
Holistic medicine is worth considering to effectively navigate the complex network of factors affecting your health. This approach promotes personalized treatment, promotes prevention, and encourages natural, non-invasive therapies for your long-term well-being.
The Integrative Wellness Center is located at 38777 6 Mile Rd., #207, Livonia, MI 48152, and is open Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.