How can these holistic practices complement my healthcare?
A person could use these practices and therapies instead of conventional medicine, as an alternative. However, this is less common and may pose risks. It is not a good idea, for example, to abandon conventional cancer treatment for a “miracle” botanical medicine. But it might make sense to see a massage or healing touch therapist while undergoing chemotherapy to help your body recuperate.
Thus we see these holistic healing practices as complementary to conventional care and a key part of integrative healthcare.
How do I get the best of both worlds?
What are some specific holistic practices?
- Alternative Medical Systems are complete systems that developed outside of the Western biomedical approach. Examples are Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.
- Mind-Body Interventions include behavioral, psychological, social, and spiritual approaches. Examples are cancer support groups and relaxation classes.
- Biologically-Based Therapies use plant or other biological materials. Examples include herbal medicines and aromatherapy.
- Manipulative and Body-Based Methods use manipulation, touch, or movement of the physical body. Examples include massage therapy and chiropractic.
Is holistic integrative healthcare safe & effective?
It is very important to evaluate every part of an integrative healthcare plan, whether complementary or conventional, to determine if it is safe and effective.
- Safe generally means that the therapy will not cause harm or be detrimental to your health and wellbeing.
- Effective means that the therapy works in the way that it is intended to work.
In reality, it is nearly impossible to determine with 100% certainty whether any treatment or therapy is safe or effective for all people. So another way to look at this question is to examine the risks, benefits, and evidence. Ask the following questions and do some research to find good answers.
It is important for you to evaluate all three-risk, benefit, and evidence-and then determine if the therapy is right for you.