According to the American Holistic Health Association, “holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses the whole person – body, mind, and spirit”. Holistic medicine considers the environmental, nutritional, physical, emotional, spiritual, and lifestyle components of a person’s life. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey revealed that approximately 38% of adults used complementary and alternative medicine. In total, 83 million adults spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket for these services, and those numbers have likely increased. Holistic medicine consists of several different practices:
- Acupressure – a practitioner uses their hands, elbows, and feet to apply pressure along the body’s “meridians”
- Acupuncture – thin needles are used to stimulate specific points on the body
- Aromatherapy – essential oils to promote healing
- Ayurvedic medicine – herbs, massage, and diets used to promote balance
- Balneotherapy – known as hydrotherapy, water is used for therapeutic purposes
- Biofeedback – people control bodily processes such as heart rate, blood pressure, etc.
- Chiropractic – chiropractors focus on the structure and function of the body
- Homeopathy – using substances that cause reactions to treat the reactions: “like with like”
- Naturopathy – nutrition, behavioral changes, herbal medicines to use nature’s healing power
- Reflexology – applying pressure to specific points on the feet, hands, or ears
- Reiki – energy healing; a Reiki practitioner will transfer energy from themselves to you
Holistic practices are becoming more mainstream because integrative medicine address the full spectrum that makes up being human, giving people a wider reach for care. Holistic medicine has also gained more support because the primary perspective is not to rule out conventional medicine, but rather to work alongside it. In fact, integrative medicine was once called “alternative” medicine and, as you can, our terminology and discussion surrounding this topic is changing for the better.
With holistic and integrative practices becoming more widespread, there may be less chances for addiction as these methods do not involve addictive substances. If you are considering this type of treatment along with your recovery, speak with your treatment center to see if any of these options are available.
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