What do you think of when you hear “holistic health care”?
Do you see any one of these:
- shelves of herbs in glass jars
- yoga positions that you can’t bend your mind around
- a reiki session
- dietary changes
- meditation and being still
- lots and lots of talk therapy
These are all part of the bigger picture. Holistic comes from the word meaning “whole” and holistic health care involves bringing the individual back into a state of wholeness. There are two principles at the heart of Naturopathic Medicine- the overarching practice that blends a bit of everything natural to restore health:
- Identify and Treat the Causes
Look beyond the symptoms to the underlying cause.
- Treat the Whole Person
View the body as an integrated whole in all its physical and spiritual dimensions.
These are two of six foundational tenets of Naturopathic Medicine. But how often are they put into practice? How often do you go to a doctor of natural health expecting only to find an alternative remedy instead of being prepared to really dig deep in different dimensions of health.
Natural health was not originally intended as green allopathy, as a substitute for allopathic or what we know now as Western medicine. It can stand on its own two feet, on a different set of foundations that are quite robust and a cross between ancient and pioneering standards. To each his own but in order for holistic natural care to come of age, it requires faith and trust from practitioners who are battling to have a voice and respect as well as faith and trust from the people who will be served by it. What do we give up for the hope of being accepted or healed wholistically?
In my country, I have met many who have shrugged off natural medicine doctors – “what do they know? you need a real doctor”. I am amused at the ignorance and I think back to the rigorous training I had a first-hand look at in naturopathic school. Graduates from these schools are not only are trained in natural therapies but also heavily in orthodox medicine. It takes superhuman strength in body, mind and spirit to get through a program that is so intense.
Yet, society will resist and stick firmly to the chains of tradition, for good or bad. Beliefs are hard to shake off even in the face of all confounding evidence- despite the lack of governmental funding and support for natural health, real results can’t be denied.
Whether the brand of doctors and practitioners that believe whole-hardheartedly in natural health care try to fit in or be themselves and whether the society can support and embrace a change in perspective will ultimately determine the future and viability of holistic health care.
P.S.- I believe that ANYTHING can be achieved with heart, sweat, trust and the will to do it.