Holistic Medicine, What Does That Mean?
It is true that there are no accepted standard definitions for holistic. Holistic is more of an approach to life. This ancient approach to health considers the whole animal and how it interacts with the environment. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning at its best.
Holistic Health is based on the law of nature that a whole is made up of interdependent parts. When one part is not working at its best, it influences all of the other parts of that animal. Furthermore, this animal, including all of the parts, is constantly interacting with everything in the surrounding environment. For example, when the pet is anxious about its owner leaving, their nervousness may result in a physical reaction--such as an upset stomach and loose stools.
The principles of Holistic Health state that health is more than just not being sick. A common explanation is to view wellness as a continuum along a line. The line represents all possible degrees of health. The far left end of the line represents premature death. On the far right end is the highest possible level of wellness or maximum well-being. The center point of the line represents a lack of apparent disease. This places all levels of illness on the left half of the wellness continuum. The right half shows that even when no illness seems to be present, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Holistic Health is an ongoing process. The cells in a pet's body are constantly being replaced. New cells are built from what is available. Harmful substances or lack of needed building blocks in the body can result in imperfect cells, unable to do what is required to keep that animal healthy. Similarly, on the non-physical level, animal's mental attitudes are a result of what they see and hear.
When disease and chronic conditions do occur, the Holistic Health principles can also be applied. The term is usually changed to holistic medicine, and additional factors are added. A holistic approach to healing goes beyond just eliminating symptoms. For example, giving your pet a shot for dry skin and itchiness would be like disconnecting the oil light on the dash of a car when it flashes. The irritation is eliminated, but the real problem still exists. In a holistic approach, a symptom is considered a message that something needs attention. So, the symptom is used as a guide to look below the surface for the root cause.
Holistic veterinary medicine deals with your pet's health as a whole. Body, emotions, mind and spirit are all taken into account when treating you pet's illnesses and conditions. From there the practitioner can develop a treatment protocol using a wide range of therapies for healing the patient. The holistic veterinarian is interested in genetics, nutrition, family relationships, hygiene, and stress factors. Holistic medicine is inclusive of every facet of your companion animal's life including your relationship to the animal. It's preventative as well as curative in nature.
Holistic medicine attempts to address disease through a series of analytic observations. When treating the animal, the goal of the holistic veterinarian is to find the root cause of the pathology. Even the most basic illness may have several layers of causation. Only when the true source of the ailment has been found is there the possibility for a long-term recovery. After discovering the foundation of the illness the holistic veterinarian prescribes the most effective, least invasive, least expensive, and least harmful treatment for your pet. In more extreme situations surgery and drug therapy from conventional medicine may be integrated with alternative techniques to provide a complementary whole.
Using complementary and alternative medicine gives your veterinarian a variety ways in which to treat diseases. An important aspect of holistic medicine is the prevention and early detection of disease. In conventional medicine veterinarians wait for something to go wrong and then fix it. Holistic health practices, on the other hand, are incorporated into the day-to-day life of the pet.
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