Holistic medicine focuses on treating the entire person and not just a disorder or affliction. Holistic health care providers believe that an individual is made up of different parts including physical, emotional, environmental and spiritual aspects. All pieces must be addressed and balanced to solve any issues, sickness or disorder, and to make a person whole.

There are several other terms that are sometimes used when referring to holistic medicine, including alternative, integrative and complementary medicine as well as natural healing. Alternative medicine typically refers to anything outside of what is considered conventional, although these lines are blurred and the definition of conventional seems to be widening.

Principles include

  • Each patient should be treated as a person and not as their disorder or disease
  • Everyone has the potential to better themselves
  • Treatment works to fix the root cause and not just the symptoms
  • A team approach where patient and health care provider work together to solve the problem should be utilized

One of the main benefits of holistic medicine is that it serves to treat the whole person and not just the current symptoms. By working to find the root cause of an addiction, for example, a person could be more likely to avoid relapse.

Further reading and resources
National Center for Biotechnology Information: Evidenced article on herbal treatment for Mental health
National Alliance on Mental Illness: Complementary holistic treatments
Here to Help: Specific types of holistic care
Children’s of Alabama: Detailed PDF on holistic care
Dunham House: Holistic program offered in Quebec
Mind Freedom: Video on holistic alternatives to psychiatric hospitals