What is the Difference Between Integrative Medicine and Holistic Medicine

Written By Alla Levin
April 12, 2021
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What is the Difference Between Integrative Medicine and Holistic Medicine

We are constantly thinking about having a healthy lifestyle, to stay young and full of energy. None of us wants to visit a doctor with a health issue, but we can’t avoid it. What we need to do is decide which kind of medicine we are going to turn to. This may be a difficult decision to make. More and more people are now seeking alternative solutions with safer and more natural healing methods.

You can see that on Rosewellness.com when readers are guided not to focus only on the specific issue but the root of the disease, which can be because of your mental health circumstances. This includes your stress management, daily diet, feelings, lifestyle, etc. First of all, let’s check the Conventional Western Medicine approach to understand the differences between Integrative Medicine and Holistic Medicine deeply.

Conventional Western Medicine Conventional Western Medicine 

This method focuses on treating the body as a collection of separate and independent organs and systems. In case of an issue, it looks for the disease. It starts healing it, taking into account only the single, most narrowly connected reason rather than treating all systems as interconnected.

Western or traditional medicine is managed, diagnosed, and treated by doctors, nurses, therapists, and pharmacists. They are using evidence-based practices, which include drugs, surgery, lifestyle changes, physical therapy. Usually, you will go through several tests at the hospital and be diagnosed. Many of us may feel the traditional or western treatment as impersonal. This is the reason why patients turn to Integrative Medicine and Holistic Medicine more and more.

Holistic Medicine

Holistic medicine is different from Western medicine in that it considers the whole body in an approach to health. It considers mind, spirit, and body as inseparable and interconnected aspects of health. When you are turning to holistic medicine, the doctor will talk to you for at least 40 minutes to understand your mental health condition, feelings, and the roots your disease may come from.

According to Holistic medicine, physical, emotional, and spiritual contributions to health are crucial for bringing the body into a state of coherence. It’s a beautiful concept, but generally, it is too vague to consider for serious illness treatment. But it works perfectly when you see a “holistic approach” in Conventional, Integrative, or Functional medicine. If you want to find articles with a perfectly balanced treatment approach, click here

Origin of Holistic Medicine: The concept of holistic medicine goes back to the 4th-century b.c. Socrates warned that treating a single part of the whole body will not cure the illness. Hippocrates knew that many factors impact health, such as weather, nutrition, emotional factors. And mostly nowadays pollution can cause huge damage to our health. Holistic medicine existed in ancient healing traditions such as India and China, dating back ~5000 years. But the term “Holistic” became more common in the 1970s when the Westerners began to look for alternative solutions.

Integrative Medicine

Integrative Medicine is often considered an East-West approach to medicine. This is a model where the Conventional (Western) medicine approach is combined with an alternative medicine approach (such as holistic).  For healing, it takes the whole body, which includes body, spirit, and soul. Integrative medicine physicians have undergone conventional medical approaches and embrace other medicine types, including Chinese medicine, Ayurvedic medicine, and more. It includes:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Homeopathy
  • Acupuncture
  • Animal-assisted therapy
  • Massage (hand massage, foot massage)
  • Lithotherapy
  • Mesotherapy
  • Phytotherapy
  • Yoga
  • Wellness
  • Music Therapy
  • Hirudotherapy

Because it accepts science-backed philosophies, the method includes allopathic treatments such as conventional drugs or procedures. All the Integrative medicine physicians treat the patient holistically, searching for the root of the problem. 

The Idea is to heal the disease in its mildest form, causing less damage with synthetic drugs but keeping the needed balance for the treatment. 

Such programs will make fundamental changes in the way physicians are trained because integrated medicine is not just about replacing drugs with herbs. It is about restoring core values that social and economic forces have eroded. Integrated medicine is good medicine, and its success will be increasing. According to Lesley Rees (Royal College of Physicians, London ) and Andrew Weil (University of Arizona, Tucson), the integrated medicine of today should be the medicine of the new millennium.

Integrative medicine can help people with cancer, persistent pain, chronic illnesses such as fatigue, fibromyalgia, and many other conditions. It will definitely soften the chronic illness symptoms and improve the quality of life. Medical Physicians are currently exploring the potential benefits of integrative health in various situations, including pain management for military personnel and veterans and reducing cancer patients’ pain symptoms.

Integrative Medicine and Holistic Medicine: Final notes

It’s always good to visit a doctor. But.. do it constantly to prevent any disease. Sure there are some cases out of your control. What you can do is to keep a healthy lifestyle, boost your immune system, avoid synthetic drugs and follow what you eat and drink. Don’t forget about exercising regularly. Practicing yoga and massage are even included in the integrative medicine healing program. Make your steps to a healthy life every day. Stay safe and hydrated!

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