Holistic medicine is the practice of healing which addresses the whole person, including spirit, mind and body. These treatment procedures integrate both, alternative and conventional therapies in order to prevent and treat diseases so as to promote optimal health for the individual. Holistic practices utilize safe and appropriate modalities of diagnosis and treatment including analysis of the patient’s lifestyle, emotions, nutrition, physical elements and environmental factors affecting the individual. Practitioners of holistic medicine understand that searching for underlying causes of the disease is the key to proper treatment and not just the symptoms alone. Several different areas make up the practice of holistic medicine, although some parts of one field often overlap another. Some of the best examples of holistic medicine treatments include the following.
● Acupressure – This treatment procedure is similar in practice to acupuncture except for the fact that it does not involve use of needles for treatment. Acupressure practitioners instead use their hands, elbows and feet in order to apply pressure on specific points of the patient’s body, which they call ‘meridians’. This therapy believes that meridians are channels which carry life energy, known as qi or ch’I, throughout the body. According to the theory of acupressure, illness occurs only when any of these meridians are either blocked or out of balance.
● Acupuncture – This treatment procedure involves use of needles for stimulating specific points on the body. Acupuncture therapy penetrates the skin with thin needles which are controlled either by a practitioner or through electrical stimulation. As of now, millions of Americans are undergoing acupuncture each year. It is also found that acupuncture is very helpful in treatment of depression and chronic pain.
● Ayurvedic Medicine – This system of medicine which originated in India thousands of years ago is also known as Ayurveda. Doctors practicing Ayurveda utilize a variety of techniques that include special diets, massage and herbs which are aimed at balancing the spirit, mind and body of the patient in order to promote overall wellness. Fundamentals on which Ayurveda is based are true for all ages. Philosophy of Ayurveda however teaches systems which are characterized by health and disease, balance and disorder. While teaching that an individual’s well being is based upon, spiritual, emotional, mental and physical aspects which are interconnected and therefore any imbalance between them results in disease. This is why harmony is essential between these elements.
● Homeopathy – Designed to function more like a vaccine, principles of homeopathy are based on treating ‘like with like’. This means that a substance which can cause adverse reactions if taken in large doses will treat the very same symptoms when taken in small amounts. During treatments, homeopaths gather extensive background information from patients prior to prescribing specific dilutions which are either in liquid or tablet form. These remedies are in fact meant to jumpstart the patient’s natural systems towards healing. Clinical evidence suggests that homeopathy is more effective than placebos. However, more research is still required in order to determine efficacy of homeopathy.
● Naturopathy – Premised on the healing power of nature; Naturopathic doctors are well trained in both conventional and alternative systems of medicine. Effectively, they seek to understand the basic cause of disease by exploring the spiritual, mental and physical manifestations of a patient. Naturopathy treatments typically involve a variety of techniques which include acupuncture, homeopathy, herbal medicine, nutrition and behavioral changes.
● Chiropractic – This holistic treatment is now widely accepted by the medical community. Therefore, chiropractic now qualifies as complementary medicine than as alternative treatment. Primary focus of this practice focuses on disorders of the nervous and musculoskeletal system including head, legs, arms, neck, back and joints. One of the most common chiropractic procedures is ‘spinal manipulation’ which typically involves application of controlled force of the chiropractor’s hands to the diseased joints. Adjustments made to affected areas in this therapy are meant to restore mobility while loosening muscles and allow tissues to heal alongside resolving pain.
● Biofeedback – This is a technique which teaches patients to control body processes which are otherwise happening involuntarily. Skin temperature, muscle tension, blood pressure and heart rate are some of these which when controlled with help of biofeedback can improve conditions like headaches, high blood pressure and chronic pain. Biofeedback therapists commonly teach relaxation techniques and mental exercises to patients including attaching electrodes to skin for measurement of bodily states. Relaxation however is the key component of biofeedback as most conditions are believed to be exacerbated by stress.
● Aromatherapy – This holistic treatment utilizes concentrated extracts (essential oils) from seeds, leaves, roots or blossoms of plants in order to promote healing. These essential oils are either inhaled or massaged on skin as part of treatment. In rare cases they are also orally consumed. While some oils are used in treatments for infections or inflammation, others are meant to promote relaxation. However, every essential oil has a specific purpose towards treatment. Aromatherapy is found to effectively reduce anxiety, depression and pain.
● Balneotherapy – This holistic treatment is also known as hydrotherapy. Dating as far back as 1700 BC, balneotherapy utilizes water for therapeutic purposes. Quite effective in treating skin conditions like acne to swelling, pain and anxiety, balneotherapy is also said to boost the immune system of patients.
● Reflexology – This therapy involves application of pressure to specific areas on ears, hands and feet. Reflexology believes that these points correspond with different systems and organs of the body and that application of pressure on them will positively affect the overall health of the patient. Reflexology is most often used as a complimentary therapy to conventional treatments for a wide-spectrum of conditions including anxiety, asthma, diabetes, cancer and kidney function. Studies have also found that reflexology can improve sleep, reduce fatigue and improve respiratory function among breast cancer patients.
● Reiki – This is a type of energy healing which is based on the concept of the same ‘life force energy’ which flows through every human being. Sickness and stress are only indications that this life force is low according to the philosophy of Reiki. On the other side, energy, happiness and health signify a strong flow of life force energy. Reiki practitioners seek to transfer healthy energy to patients by lightly placing their hands on their bodies. Some Reiki practitioners also practice transfer of energy from a slight distance away from the seeker or from long-distance as well. However, the purpose of Reiki like all other holistic treatments is to promote relaxation, reduce pain, speed up healing and generally improve well being of the seeker.
India is an Excellent Healthcare Tourism Destination for Holistic Treatments
India is home to a wide-spectrum of natural beauty which goes hand-in-hand with holistic treatments. International patients will find it appealing to undergo holistic therapies among numerous exotic touristic destinations which are widespread within the length and breadth of the subcontinent. These places also present a wonderful opportunity for foreign patients to recover after going through grueling conventional medical treatments. Travcure Medical Tourism will be delighted to make recuperative holiday arrangements for patients, including holistic treatments and sessions of yoga and meditation. However, it is imperative that patients undergoing conventional treatments including surgeries discuss holistic treatments with their doctors before undergoing these procedures.