When exploring alternative medicine, the terms “homeopathic” and “holistic” are common, but their exact definitions may not be readily apparent. In fact, some may even discover that the terms are used interchangeably and mistakenly assume they are synonymous. While both homeopathic remedies and holistic medicine can share common features, they are complementary treatment models with their own unique approach to pathology and treatment.
Many people use the word “holistic” to mean “natural” or “organic,” but in the medical field, the term actually refers to a type of treatment. Holistic medicine treats the whole person.
A holistic practitioner does not focus on a single disease or problem but rather focuses on the patient’s entire well-being; great emphasis is placed on preventative care and optimization of existing lifestyles, meaning that holistic medicine can meet people where they are and help them make beneficial changes within their means.
Because so many factors contribute to illness, mental health, and chronic pain, a holistic approach can provide valuable insight. Rather than fixating on a single symptom, holistic practitioners are able to look at a patient’s entire physiology and draw important connections to create diverse solutions.
For those who want a medical treatment that emphasizes purity and reduces unnecessary procedures or prescriptions, homeopathy is the best choice. This style of medicine is similar to holistic medicine in that it considers the patient’s entire being rather than just their presenting symptoms.
Possible areas to explore in a homeopathic assessment include:
- Physical health status.
- Emotional well-being.
- Diet and activity levels.
- Environment and associated mental and social stressors.
Holistic doctors favor contemporary diagnostics and treatments, but homeopathic doctors prefer an older, less invasive approach. Homeopathic doctors are also more likely to prescribe alternatives to common prescription medications; for example, they may suggest using oils and massage therapy to treat chronic lower back pain while a holistic doctor may prescribe a painkiller or analgesic.
Ultimately, both types of medicine encourage patients to look deeper at health problems and assess wellness as a journey, not a singular experience based off the presence of symptoms. Health is omnipresent, and the best way to ensure its continued prosperity is to focus holistically on physical, social, emotional, and spiritual wellness to promote a healthy, balanced lifestyle.