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Holistic health or medicine is a term or category used to describe therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole person. Instead of treating a specific illness, holistic medicine seeks to evaluate the individual’s overall physical, mental, and emotional wellness and usually turns to a healthy diet and exercise as treatment. WebMD states, “ According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health -- the primary goal of holistic medicine practice -- by gaining proper balance in life.”

Principles of Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine is also based around the belief that love, support, and making health a priority is the most powerful healing agent and that an individual is ultimately responsible for his or her own health and wellness. Other principles include the thought process that patients are people, not diseases, healing is a team approach, and it involves fixing the cause of the condition not just alleviating the symptoms.

Alternative Practices

Alternative methods to healing are often associated with holistic medicine, including natural remedies and diet tips and tricks. According to Holistic Med,  “Such techniques could include non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical techniques such as Medical Herbalism, Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Reiki, and many others.”  As alternative methods gain popularity, they are no longer regarded as secondary in efficacy to traditional medicine methods.

Complementary Medicine

Complementary practices using the holistic approach are also becoming wildly popular. This is the practice of using a holistic treatment alongside traditional medicine, or using a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical technique to “complement” conventional medicine. This could include taking an herbal supplement in the morning, wearing a copper bracelet to reduce inflammation,  or incorporating a healing ingredient with cooking.