• Treat the Whole Patient Holistically

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4 Reasons Patients & Providers Love the Holistic Approach

Have you ever noticed that when you’re sick, it’s often a combination of medicine, rest and relaxation that get you better? It makes sense that there isn’t just one easy fix to something as complicated as the human body. That’s the idea behind the holistic approach to medicine. Instead of concentrating on just one part of your body, practitioners look at your whole self: mind, body and spirit. And both doctors and patients agree that it’s a pretty good way to go. Here’s why:

Not every treatment works on every person. Doctors use what has worked in the past on other patients to treat you. This is a really good idea –most of the time. But holistic physicians know that you’re not exactly the same as all their other patients. What’s effective for someone else might not work the same for you. They get to know and treat you as the individual you are. The holistic approach also doesn’t rely on a singular treatment. A physician might prescribe you medication, but also make suggestions for alternative treatments such as acupuncture or meditation.

Holistic medicine concentrates on underlying causes of illness. When holistic physicians treat patients, they don’t just look at what kind of disease a patient has; they also ask what kind of patient has the disease.1 For example, if you go to the doctor for recurring headaches, holistic physicians will not just look at what might be causing them physically. They’ll also want to know about what’s going on in your life. They might ask questions about sleep and stress and even details about where you live. There are lots of potential causes for your illness and the holistic physician considers you first, the illness secondly.

Prevention is preferable and more cost-effective than treatment. Treatment of chronic and preventable diseases costs billions of dollars every year. For example, obesity causes more than 300,000 deaths every year and costs more than 145 billion dollars to treat.2/3 When your doctors consider your whole self instead of just your illness, they’re more likely to offer guidance and suggestions on how to keep that “whole self” well. Instead of just advising a patient with a severe weight problem to exercise more and eat less, a holistic physician might delve more deeply into the patients’ genetics, habits and mental health that may be contributing factors to excessive weight.

Patient self-advocacy is encouraged. The holistic approach considers the doctor-patient relationship as a partnership and encourages patients’ active participation in their treatment. When patients are involved in all stages of their medical care, they are more likely to believe that it will be effective. Studies have shown that a positive attitude can help you better battle everything from the common cold to more serious physical and mental health challenges.4

Effective healthcare treatment today often combines cutting edge technologies and medications with the cultivation of trusting doctor-patient relationships. If you’ve ever considered a career in healthcare, you’ll want to know about them all. At Charter College, our healthcare programs offer hands-on training along with classroom lectures that may tackle such important discussions as multi-culturalism and how to deal with diverse healthcare populations. Are you ready to make a difference in the world? A career in healthcare could help you accomplish that goal. Learn more here.

1http://www.med.umich.edu/umim/resources/holistic_family_medicine.html

2https://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/oehp/obesity/mortality.htm

3 http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/causes.html

4http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950