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Phil Schaefer
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Phil Schaefer   My Press Releases

HOLISTIC or CONVENTIONAL* ?

Published on 10/5/2018
For additional information  Click Here

 Do you know the difference between Holistic Medicine and Conventional Medicine.

The underlying concepts of Holistic Medicine are older than those of conventional or allopathic medicine, and have actually had various healing traditions around the world since the dawn of recorded history.  As early as 5000 B.C., "physician-sages" formulating the healing traditions of both traditional and Chinese medicine (TCM) and Ayurvedic medicine recognized that human beings were comprised of Mind, Body, and Spirit and their health was dependent on the balance of all three factors.

This view was also held by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, whose genius was not in the drugs he used or his diagnostic skills, but his insight into the elements that were needed in order to produce and maintain health that was natural and included hygiene, a calm and balanced mental state, proper diet, a sound work and home environment, and physical conditioning.  His most famous Quote "Let FOOD be Thy Medicine, and Medicine be Thy FOOD." is still SPOT-ON to this day.

The primary role of healers and physicians in each of these traditions was to teach others how to live harmoniously with themselves and their environment, and how to utilize the above categories effectively to obtain true health.

In the end, Holistic Medicine is a model that creates empowerment by educating patients in the many ways to take personal responsibility for their health, and to learn safely and effectively how to treat physical, mental, and spiritual conditions so they experience more energy and joy in being alive. 

The origin and philosophy of Conventional Medicine...

The roots of Conventional Medicine (drug and surgery based medical procedures that became dominant in the both century) can be traced back to Rene Descartes (1596-1650), the famous scientist and philosopher who was characterized by his rationalistic, dualistic worldview.

Perhaps an unintended consequence of his philosophy Cartesianism,  was the separation of the "Mind" from the Body", which ultimately led to various fields of specialization that now comprise conventional medicine, each of which focuses on a particular branch of medicine and the organ it treats, usually with little regard to how these parts are intertwined and the dynamic relationship between them.

In the mid-19th century, the discovery of disease causing microbes added further "validity" to the Conventional Medicine theory.  At the time there were two opposing theories concerning the cause of disease - one that infecting microbes known as germs causes illness, while the other maintained that those microbes only caused illness when the conditions inside the body were right for them due to imbalances in the various body systems.

The "Germ Theory", which was advocated by Louis Pasteur (1822-1895), became dominant and heralded the birth of conventional medicine with its emphasis on infectious causes of disease rather than creation and maintenance of physiological harmony and balance.

This followed by rapid development of microscopy, bacterial cultures, vaccines, x-rays, and antibacterial drugs.  The more the Conventional Medical System became focused on treating specific ailments, the more it moved away from teaching (doctor is derived from the Latin verb docere, meaning "to teach") to that of authoritarian figures whose advice patients are expected to unquestioningly follow.

It also led to organization of Medical Schools into departments of specialty, such as cardiology, nephrology, neurology, dermatology, orthopedics, and psychiatry.  This led to Disease Classification by the Organ it affected (appendicitis, prostatitis, colitis, heart and gallbladder, disease, etc) which diverted attention away from the intrinsic relatedness of all parts of the Body and the dynamic of ALL these Life Forces.

In the end, Conventional Medicine is a model that takes an authoritarian approach to the physician-patient relationship, and primarily promotes Drugs and Surgery to remedy Physical symptoms.

The guiding principles of Holistic Medicine...

The guiding principles behind Holistic Medicine are rooted in Education, Empowerment, and Prevention through Natural means, taking into effect the dynamic of the entire body and how the individual body parts work together to create optimal health.

These specific guiding principles include:

  • Embracing a variety of safe and effective diagnostic and treatment options, that includes education for lifestyle changes and self care, and complementary diagnostic and treatment approaches.
  • Searching for underlying causes of disease are preferable to treating symptoms alone.
  • Establishing the kind of patient that has a disease, as much as the kind of disease a patient has.
  • Prevention is preferable to treatment and more cost effective.
  • Illness is viewed as a manifestation of the dysfunction of the whole person, not an isolated event.
  • In the healing process, the quality of the relationship established between physician and patient is paramount, in which the patient is encouraged to take responsibility of their own health.
  • The ideal relationship considers the needs, desires, awareness, and insight of the patient, as well as the physician.
  • Physicians significantly influence patients by their example.
  • Illness, pain, and the dying process are learning opportunities for both the patient and the physician.
  • Encouraging patients to evoke the healing power of love, hope, humour, and enthusiasm to release the toxic consequences of hostility, shame, greed, depression, and prolonged fear, anger, and grief.
  • Optimal health is more than the absence of sickness.  It's the Pursuit of the highest qualities of the physical, environmental, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of human experience.

The strengths of this system is that it teaches patients to take responsibility for their own health, and in doing so it is more cost effective in treating acute and chronic illness.  It is also therapeutic in preventing and treating Chronic disease, and is essential in creating Optimal Health.

The weaknesses of this system is that it is Time Intensive, and requires a commitment to the Healing Process, and is not a quick fix.

I hope this helps you or someone you know.  Make it a Great Day.  
 
 
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