Holistic Medicine, commonly referred to as ?Alternative Medicine?, is a vast and rapidly growing new scientific field. It is derived mainly from ancient, traditional methods of healing that have often been practiced in the East for centuries. These include a variety of techniques from herbal healing to acupuncture to homeopathy to energy channeling. Due to the large number of methods that are covered by the term, there are various definitions of Holistic Medicine. However, all literature seems to agree that Alternative Medicine, is exactly what the name suggests: an ?alternative’ approach to healing and medicine. It is a more personal move toward health care, which attempts to connect the mind, body and spirit.
Another way that Alternative Medicine is defined is by what the field does not cover. According to David M. Eisenberg, M.D., of Harvard Medical School, alternative medicines are ?medical interventions not taught widely at U.S. medical schools or generally available at U.S. hospitals.? Therefore Holistic Healing covers most practices regularly followed in other parts of the world, although it does not include the techniques used by conventional doctors in the Western world practicing Allopathic Medicine.
Alternative medicine can also be defined as the result of a series of important changes occurring within the American health care system today. For example, health care practitioners are coming to the realization that conventional biomedicine cannot solve many of America’s health problems. Therefore many doctors have begun to accept the idea that Holistic Medicine is based on, that is, that health involves more than just the physical body. They have also found many alternative medical treatments are more effective, less harmful, and more economical than conventional medicine. This new awareness of the general public and the medical community is what has caused such a great plunge forward in the use of alternative treatments today. An increasing number of medical schools are now offering courses in alternative medicine for their students, and some hospitals already have alternative medicine departments. The availability of healers and doctors practicing holistic medicine has also increased in recent years, and more and more people are educating themselves in these new fields. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that between 65 and 80 percent of the world’s population (about 3 billion people) rely on traditional medicine as their primary form of health care.
Because many of the treatments of alternative medicine do not adhere to the principles of conventional medicine, whether or not to allow practice of these techniques in the United States is a major concern of the medical community today. The Food and Drug Administration is the decision making body of issues such as this and more often than not, does not approve many of these practices. Due to the fact that holistic medicine sometimes contradicts the fundamentals of biomedicine, health care regulation boards such as the FDA find it difficult to accept many of these treatments. Because the Western world is so unfamiliar with these techniques it is only natural for medical community to often disprove these methods. However, as more and more doctors discover the limitations of conventional medical techniques, and discover how little knowledge human beings possess in respect to issues such as life and death it is important that these treatments be approved for practice in the United States.
Although it is often unclear why some of these methods are so effective in the treatment of illness, I believe the large amount of data supporting alternative medicine, in general, is something that can not be ignored. According to the allopathic medical community, many of these treatments do not have much ?scientific? basis. However, practices such as acupuncture have successfully treated patients for centuries before allopathic medicine was even practiced. It should be of very little concern whether or not these treatments agree with conventional science and a greater emphasis should be put on the fact that these treatments are often more successful than allopathic medical techniques.
. I believe that approval of the use of these practices in the United States is vital to improving health care facilities for the American public. If doctors and health care practitioners can witness the successful application of these treatments, they will be forced to accept these treatments as a part of routine medical practice. It will undoubtedly help educate the medical community, and will eventually lead to a different, perhaps more traditional approach to medicine.
The greater use of alternative medicine in the future is almost certain. These practices will surely play a larger role in health care in the United States, and will change the American health care system indefinitely. The public, itself, will begin to approach life, death, illness, and wellness in a different way. The people will most likely begin to be more responsible and play a greater part in their own health and well being. Medical advances are also certain. As the medical community will rediscover these traditional techniques to medicine, technology will probably play a much smaller role in healing. A greater emphasis will be put on spirituality and emotions. Eventually, the greater practice of holistic medicine in the United States will surely lead to a public that is generally healthier and surely happier.