Dr. Mark LaBeau - Holistic Doctor in Carmel Valley, California
What Is Holistic Medicine?
Holistic medicine is a whole-body approach to healthcare. It intends to improve health and wellness through the body, mind, and soul. Normally, holistic medicine integrates traditional medicine and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Your specific treatment plan will depend on the kind of holistic specialty. There are different types of holistic practitioners. Some are physicians with a medical degree. They might base their treatments on holistic principles, which makes them a holistic doctor.
Other holistic practitioners are not "real" medical doctors. They might be called "doctor" in their field, but they aren't licensed to practice medicine.
Generally, holistic medicine isn't meant to be used instead of conventional healthcare. It's generally suggested as a complement to regular treatments.
Principles of Holistic Medicine
Holistic medicine is based on several core values:
- Good health is a mixture of physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, and social wellness
- Prevention first, treatment second
- Disease is caused by a problem with the whole body, instead of a single event or body part
- The objective of treatment is to fix the underlying cause of illness, rather than just improving the symptoms
- Treatment consists of a wide range of options, including education, self-care, CAM, and traditional medicine
- An individual is not defined by their condition
- The relationship between a doctor as well as the person being treated determines the treatment outcome
What Is a Holistic Doctor?
A holistic doctor is a health professional that practices holistic medicine. Common types of holistic practitioners include:
An osteopath, or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO), is a licensed doctor who treats health problems with osteopathic manipulative medicine. This type of medicine involves physically manipulating the musculoskeletal system. The concept is that the musculoskeletal system, which includes your muscles, bones, and nerves, affects the entire body. Like a doctor of medicine (MD), an osteopath is a medical doctor. They are licensed to practice medicine.
Both MDs and DOs attend medical school, choose a specialty, and complete a residency. They take the same exam to become a licensed doctor. When treating a disorder, MDs and DOs utilize conventional treatments. But some DOs might incorporate musculoskeletal manipulation, unlike traditional MDs.
Integrative physicians are licensed medical doctors that have an integrative approach to healthcare. This involves combining traditional treatments with CAM.
Integrative medicine is meant to be used with conventional medical care. It can also involve a variety of therapies.
There isn't a formal degree for becoming an integrative physician. Instead, a person attends medical school, becomes a licensed physician, and then receives training or experience in CAM. They can also become board certified in integrative medicine.
An Ayurvedic doctor utilizes Ayurveda to treat health conditions. Ayurveda is an ancient system of Indian medicine. In Sanskrit, Ayurveda means "knowledge of life."
Practitioners believe health problems are caused by imbalanced doshas, or life energies. Ayurveda intends to balance these doshas through alternative therapies, diet, herbal remedies, as well as lifestyle changes.
In India, Ayurvedic medicine is a primary system of medical care. Practitioners complete professional, standardized training at an Ayurvedic school to become Ayurvedic doctors.
However, in the U.S., there isn't a nationwide license or certification for Ayurvedic practitioners. Ayurvedic doctors aren't recognized as medical doctors.
A naturopathic physician, or doctor of naturopathic medicine (ND), is trained in naturopathic medicine.
This system of medicine combines Western science, natural therapies, and holistic approaches to treat health conditions. Natural therapies may be used as both primary and complementary therapies.
Naturopathic doctors attend a naturopathic medical college, where they study the same coursework as traditional medical doctors. They also take a professional board exam to become licensed, but they aren't recognized as medical doctors.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an ancient form of Chinese medicine.
According to TCM, each individual has a life force, or qi. Good health depends on a balanced or flowing qi. However if the qi becomes imbalanced or obstructed, the outcome is disease. The objective of TCM is to balance qi through acupuncture, herbal medicine, and lifestyle treatments.
In the U.S., TCM practitioners are people that practice acupuncture or Chinese herbal medicine.
Training includes 3 to 4 years of schooling and a certification exam. Some institutions provide degrees like doctor of Oriental medicine. However, these degrees aren't recognized as medical doctor degrees.
What Does a Holistic Physician Do That a Traditional Physician Does Not?
Usually, traditional physicians treat symptoms. They offer medical solutions to alleviate a disease.
A holistic physician treats the body as one. They aim to find the cause behind the illness, instead of just fixing the symptoms. This could involve multiple treatments.
Kinds of Holistic Medicine Treatments
There are many forms of holistic treatments. Depending on your practitioner's specialty, your treatment plan may involve:
Educational treatment shows you how to make lifestyle changes. This involves habits and self-care techniques that might help your condition.
Treatments may involve:
- Nutrition counseling
- Dietary supplements
- Tai chi
- Support groups
Complementary and Alternative Therapies
Your holistic doctor may also conduct or recommend certain therapies. Examples include:
- Herbal remedies
- Music therapy
- Western Treatments
Many holistic doctors combine conventional Western medicine with the treatments above. They may suggest conventional options like:
- Prescription medication
- Radiation therapy