The term “holistic” comes from the Greek word “holon,” meaning “wholeness,” “integrity. The concept of this movement is that the individual is indivisible and represents a single whole in the space-time continuum. According to this theory, each individual is part of the universe and fully reflects its structure. The holistic approach states that the most effective method of treating illness is to increase the health potential of the person who is ill. It is based on the fact that all living things are filled with life force, the disruption of which leads to illness, and the activation of which leads to recovery. The holistic practitioner helps the patient determine which aspects of his or her life enhance, support the natural processes, and which aspects interfere with or oppose them.
Currently in the United States, more than 50% of the population uses the services of holistic medicine practitioners and a variety of unconventional therapies. Services of professionals in the field of Applied Kinesiology, Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Acupuncture are especially in demand due to the fact that the methods they use allow for effective treatment of many serious diseases and avoid dangerous complications of chemotherapy. In Germany, England, Holland, Italy homeopathic treatment is popular and homeopathic medicines are sold in city pharmacies, and treatment in unconventional holistic medicine clinics is paid by insurance companies along with regular medical services. In the post-Soviet space, holistic medicine is only making its first timid steps, experiencing significant pressure from pharmaceutical companies, physician conservatism and lack of incentive to change the daily treatment tactics of specialists working in the public sector of medicine.
The main areas of modern holistic medicine are:
Applied Kinesiology, Osteopathy and Chiropractic
Medical methods aimed at restoring the mobility of joints, spine, bones of the skull, internal organs, relaxation of surrounding muscle tissues, capsules and fascia. In their therapy such specialists use mainly manual methods of correction, designed to free the structures of the body of functional mechanical blocks, restore mobility, free circulation of fluids (blood and lymph circulation), the nervous regulation. Such optimization of the human motor apparatus by the methods of applied kinesiology leads to elimination of both pain syndromes and causes of internal organs malfunctions, biochemical and immune health indicators. Correctly performed treatment is the key to activation of self-regulation systems, harmonization of the body and improvement of the quality of life.
The method of treatment of diseases created in the 19th century by the German doctor Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843) that involves the use of special (homeopathic) drugs in very small (trace) doses. Interestingly, in large doses, these medicines cause signs of the disease that they are intended to treat when used in microconcentration. Thus, homeopathy reflects the holistic principle of interrelationship – “like-mindedness treats like-mindedness” – informing the body about a problem that may be troubling it, stimulating internal processes to solve this problem. Currently, methods of using combined complexes of drugs are popular among many homeopaths.
A therapeutic method based on the action on human organs and systems by means of special needles inserted through special acupuncture points.
This method has more than 5 thousand years of successful application in Chinese and Korean medicine. The mechanism of action of acupuncture is studied only partially from the position of neurophysiology of biologically active points, and functional connections between nerve receptor systems and regulation of organs. That part of acupuncture, which operates with Chinese philosophical concepts of five primary elements, internal winds, Qi energy is still a scientific “terra incognita”, waiting for its researchers.
It is a method that uses the properties of medicinal leeches to improve blood microcirculation and biochemistry and provide a detoxifying and stimulating effect on tissue regeneration. In hirudotherapy of various diseases leeches are placed in strictly defined areas, usually in the projection of biologically active points in places of accumulation of neurovascular structures, associated with the affected organ. In this case the principle of holistic medicine is observed – it requires that all the recipes of hirudotherapy would capture the key places of disease development.
This direction of medicine, known since ancient times, is based on the use of preparations of various parts of plants prepared in the form of decoctions, ointments, extracts, tinctures, tablets in the therapeutic process. The therapy is based on the influence of natural regulators of internal organs contained in plants, supporting the vitality of the body, normalizing its functions. Phytotherapy has many herbal recipes tested over the centuries, with minimal or no side effects from using herbs and the effect is much better than classical medicine for the same diseases.
This is a method of reflexotherapy applied to the points located on the hands and feet, according to projections of diseased organs or meridional energy structures accepted in Chinese and Korean medicine.
Qi Gong, Yoga
Qi Gong, Yoga and other Oriental methods of traditional therapy based on the beliefs about managing the flows of inner life force by conscious effort of will or through specific exercises (Tai-chi Qigong). Today many phenomena of the healing effects of yoga asanas or qigong exercises have been studied in detail from the medical standpoint and have a proven anatomophysiological basis.
Ancient Indian branch of holistic medicine, that operates with the constitutional principle of dividing people according to their biological and psycho-emotional characteristics, as well as their susceptibility to certain diseases. Depending on the patient’s belonging to this or that type of constitution in Ayurveda the therapy includes dietary therapy, special medicines on vegetable and mineral basis, healing oils, special point massage (marma therapy), some necessary changes in the daily routine and the patient’s way of life.
A method known since Ancient Egypt, based on the use of essential oils and natural phytoncides from various plants. Exhibiting antimicrobial and biologically regulating effect, aromatherapy means are successfully used in the treatment of many chronic diseases. Oils can be inhaled by smoking in special aroma lamps, applied to the skin, taken orally in diluted carrier oils (cedar, olive, jojoba) or in pure form.
Treatment with bee stings (on certain biologically active areas) and bee products. Apitherapy has an activating and balancing effect on the nervous and endocrine system, can be used in the treatment of both acute and chronic painful conditions.
The use of the healing properties of minerals in the therapy of diseases.
And in conclusion, it is important to note that the general “idea” of all systems of holistic medicine is the harmonious health of the body as a whole, rather than the symptomatic treatment of manifestations of various diseases.