MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information
AN EXPLANATION OF HOLISTIC MEDICINE
HOLISTIC MEDICINE TOPICS
Holism (the word is derived from the Greek holos, meaning "whole") is the idea that everything in the universe is greater than, and different from, the sum of its parts. Holistic medicine is an approach to health that aims to deal with the patient as a whole and not merely with physical symptoms. It takes into account the psychological state of an individual, social and environmental factors, and an indefinable dimension known as "spirit".
Most complimentary-holistic practitioners look not only at the physical symptoms of illness, but also work closely to explore the emotional and spiritual concerns as well. This holistic approach to health encourages the patient's powers of self-healing.
TREATING THE WHOLE PERSON
According to many of the world's holistic health systems, such as naturopathy, homeopathy and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body has a natural tendency toward equilibrium, or homeostasis, the maintenance of which is the key to good health. When equilibrium is disrupted, holistic practitioners work in partnership with the patient, focusing on all aspects of his or her life, to promote self-healing. A common misconception is that holistic healing is the sole preserve of complementary practitioners. In fact, many conventional health care providers have a holistic approach, considering patients in the context of their lifestyle and emphasizing health education and self-care. Psychiatrists and psychologists also give a distinct nod to holistic principles.
On the other hand, not all complementary therapies are inherently "holistic" or "spiritual" - terms often used to distinguish them from "uncaring" medical science - nor are they necessarily "anti-scientific" or "anti-intellectual." Some complementary practitioners, for example, might focus on certain physical symptoms in a similar way to conventional health care providers, and therapies such as osteopathy and chiropractic are in many ways as practical and grounded in anatomy and pathology as conventional medicine. Because of this confusion of meaning, conventional and complementary practitioners interested in holistic principles often prefer to talk of "integrated" medicine.
An integrated approach can - and often does - combine the best in mainstream medicine and complementary therapy. While a non-holistic conventional health care provider would only treat asthma symptoms, prescribing drugs to suppress them, a health care provider with an integrated approach would treat the symptoms with medication but also address underlying causes, such as an allergy reaction or anxiety, and investigate the patient's emotional makeup. Cognitive behavioral therapy might be suggested as a strategy for coping with asthma attacks, hypnosis to relieve stress, or the purchase of special bedding and vacuum cleaners to minimize house dust mites if they trigger attacks. A complementary practitioner might prescribe an herbal remedy to relax bronchial muscles, a diet to eliminate food intolerances, acupuncture to restore the flow of qi (chi or ch'i pronounced as "chee"), or essential oil massages to ease tension and induce relaxation.
Ancient Symbols of the equilibrium between opposing but interdependent forces can be found in both Eastern and Western cultures. The Western emblem of medicine, the caduceus, and the Chinese symbol for yin and yang both represent opposites held in a healing balance.
THE POWER OF THE MIND
Modern epidemics of long-term and stress-related diseases that only seem to be partially alleviated by conventional medicine have led many medical practitioners to question 20th-century science's distinction between mind and body. The origins of this schism are often ascribed to the 17th-century French philosopher Descartes, who sought to accommodate tensions between the Catholic church and the emerging science of medicine by allotting the intangible soul to care of priests and the physical "measurable" body to that of physicians. From here it was an easy step for the medical establishment to regard illness as purely a mechanical breakdown in the body's machinery.
But can our emotions affect our physical health? After all, we talk about "butterflies in the stomach" before an important event, and traffic jams as a "pain in the neck". At the very heart of science lies a phenomenon that supports the theory of holistic medicine - The Placebo Response, in which an inactive treatment has a positive effect, providing intriguing evidence of the power of the mind over the body. Belief in a treatment, whether on the part of the patient or practitioner, or simply faith in the practitioner, can be so powerful that the patient actually gets better. The placebo response has reduced blood pressure, healed ulcers, eased swelling, overridden the effects of stimulants, and relieved arthritis, hay fever, and depression. In actively encouraging patients to participate in their own healing, practitioners may be able to exploit the power of this mind/body response.
It has been reported by Professor Herbert Benson of the Mind/Body Medical Institute of Harvard Medical School that when actual patient cases are studied, the success rate of the placebo response can be as high as 90 percent. The power of belief and expectation, he believes, may be harnessed by eliciting the "relaxation response," a mental state that triggers significant physiological changes, including lowered blood pressure, slower breathing, reduced muscle tension, and diminished stress hormone levels (as seen in meditation therapy). Any technique in which the mind is quietly focused, such as meditation, visualization, diaphragmatic breathing, biofeedback, hypnosis, qigong, or yoga, can induce the relaxation response, and conventional practitioners at medical centers in the US and UK now employ these methods to improve the well-being of their patients.
THE SPIRITUAL DIMENSION
In holistic medicine, spiritual concerns rank with those of the mind and body. We are creatures that puzzle over what life means, where we come from, and where we are bound. To be anxious and bewildered at times is to be human. For many of us, the past has been painful, the present is insecure, and the future uncertain. In the struggle to make sense of life, certain activities create a supportive framework that connects us to our "inner selves", to each other, and to the world. These activities include art, literature, music, community, family, worship, and play, and they are especially important when illness presents us with the reality of our vulnerability, limitations, and dependency. Broadly speaking, this is the realm of spirituality.
In his studies, Professor Benson found that 23 percent of his patients reported feeling "more spiritual" after relaxation exercises and experienced fewer medical symptoms than those reporting no increase in spirituality. In 1995, US researchers at the Dartmouth Medical School found that patients who derived strength and comfort from religious faith were three more times more likely to survive the six months after open-heart surgery than those with no religious beliefs. The same study also reported that people who never crossed the threshold of a church, yet nonetheless held deep spiritual beliefs, were equally likely to survive. Being actively involved with some sort of organization, whether a choir, political party, religious group or coven, conferred the same protection, and the combination of faith and participation in any kind of group increased the likelihood of postoperative survival ninefold. More relevant to our well-being than organized religion or membership, it seems, is a spiritual awareness and "connectedness" with fellow human beings.
Holistic practitioners believe that the mind and body tend toward a state of balance, or homeostasis, and have a natural capacity for self-regulation. The ability to maintain equilibrium, however, can be overwhelmed when we are under stress and strain, physically or emotionally.
MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information: The Balanced Body
Demands on one part of the "whole" affect other parts - constant emotional tension, for example, may cause physical fatigue. Optimum health, therefore, is achieved by attending to all parts of the whole.
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AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Allspice Leaf Oil Angelica Oil Anise Oil Baobab Oil Basil Oil Bay Laurel Oil Bay Oil Benzoin Oil Bergamot Oil Black Pepper Oil Chamomile (German) Oil Cajuput Oil Calamus Oil Camphor (White) Oil Caraway Oil Cardamom Oil Carrot Seed Oil Catnip Oil Cedarwood Oil Chamomile Oil Cinnamon Oil Citronella Oil Clary-Sage Oil Clove Oil Coriander Oil Cypress Oil Dill Oil Eucalyptus Oil Fennel Oil Fir Needle Oil Frankincense Oil Geranium Oil German Chamomile Oil Ginger Oil Grapefruit Oil Helichrysum Oil Hyssop Oil Iris-Root Oil Jasmine Oil Juniper Oil Labdanum Oil Lavender Oil Lemon-Balm Oil Lemongrass Oil Lemon Oil Lime Oil Longleaf-Pine Oil Mandarin Oil Marjoram Oil Mimosa Oil Myrrh Oil Myrtle Oil Neroli Oil Niaouli Oil Nutmeg Oil Orange Oil Oregano Oil Palmarosa Oil Patchouli Oil Peppermint Oil Peru-Balsam Oil Petitgrain Oil Pine-Long Leaf Oil Pine-Needle Oil Pine-Swiss Oil Rosemary Oil Rose Oil Rosewood Oil Sage Oil Sandalwood Oil Savory Oil Spearmint Oil Spikenard Oil Swiss-Pine Oil Tangerine Oil Tea-Tree Oil Thyme Oil Vanilla Oil Verbena Oil Vetiver Oil Violet Oil White-Camphor Oil Yarrow Oil Ylang-Ylang Oil Aromatherapy
Healing Baths For Colds
Using Essential Oils
AROMATHERAPY: HERBAL & CARRIER OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
Almond, Sweet Oil Apricot Kernel Oil Argan Oil Arnica Oil Avocado Oil Baobab Oil Black Cumin Oil Black Currant Oil Black Seed Oil Borage Seed Oil Calendula Oil Camelina Oil Castor Oil Coconut Oil Comfrey Oil Evening Primrose Oil Flaxseed Oil Grapeseed Oil Hazelnut Oil Hemp Seed Oil Jojoba Oil Kukui Nut Oil Macadamia Nut Oil Meadowfoam Seed Oil Mullein Oil Neem Oil Olive Oil Palm Oil Plantain Oil Plum Kernel Oil Poke Root Oil Pomegranate Seed Oil Pumpkin Seed Oil Rosehip Seed Oil Safflower Oil Sea Buckthorn Oil Sesame Seed Oil Shea Nut Oil Soybean Oil St. Johns Wort Oil Sunflower Oil Tamanu Oil Vitamin E Oil Wheat Germ Oil
HELPFUL RELATED MOONDRAGON NUTRITION BASICS LINKS
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MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: 4 Basic Nutrients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Foods That Contain Additives & Artificial Ingredients MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Is Aspartame A Safe Sugar Substitute? MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Guidelines For Selecting & Preparing Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Destroy MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Foods That Heal MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: The Micronutrients: Vitamins & Minerals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Avoid Overcooking Your Foods MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Phytochemicals MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Increase Your Consumption of Raw Produce MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Limit Your Use of Salt MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Use Proper Cooking Utensils MoonDragon's Nutrition Basics: Choosing The Best Water & Types of Water
RELATED MOONDRAGON HEALTH LINKS & INFORMATION
MoonDragon's Nutrition Information Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Therapy Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Analysis Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Diet Index MoonDragon's Nutritional Recipe Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Therapy: Preparing Produce for Juicing MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Additives Index MoonDragon's Nutrition Information: Food Safety Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Index MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Articles MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Back Pain MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Labor & Birth MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Blending Chart MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Essential Oil Details MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Links MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Miscarriage MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Post Partum MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Childbearing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy For Problems in Pregnancy & Birthing MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #1 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Chart of Essential Oils #2 MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Tips MoonDragon's Aromatherapy Uses MoonDragon's Alternative Health Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Information Overview MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Touch & Movement Therapies Index MoonDragon's Alternative Health Therapy: Touch & Movement: Aromatherapy MoonDragon's Alternative Therapy: Touch & Movement - Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Alternative Health: Therapeutic Massage MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 1 MoonDragon's Holistic Health Links Page 2 MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Nutrition Basics Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy Index MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Massage Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Hydrotherapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Pain Control Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Relaxation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Steam Inhalation Therapy MoonDragon's Health & Wellness: Therapy - Herbal Oils Index
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