Holistic medicine is a term used to describe all therapies that attempt to treat the patient as a whole. That is, instead of treating an illness, holistic medicine looks at an individual’s over-all physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being before recommending treatment. A practitioner with a holistic approach treats the symptoms of illness as well as looking for the underlying cause of the illness.
Holistic medicine also attempts to prevent illness by placing an emphasis on optimizing health. The body’s systems are seen as interdependent parts of the whole being. Since the natural state is one of health, an illness or disease is the result of an imbalance in the body’s systems. Holistic therapies are intended to help the body maintain balance and tend to emphasize proper nutrition.
The term holistic medicine is an open term that encompasses many different therapies but can also include some terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM) are terms that refer to the group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not generally considered to be part of conventional medicine.
Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. An example of a complementary therapy is using acupuncture to help lessen a patient’s discomfort following surgery.
Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Integrative (or integrated medicine) combines therapies from conventional medicine and CAVM for treatment and prevention of disease.
There are four major types of complementary and alternative medicine. These types are whole medical systems, biologically based practices, manipulative and body-based practices, and energy-based medicine.
Whole medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Often, these systems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States.
Examples of whole medical systems that have developed in Western cultures include…
Examples of whole medical systems that have developed in non-Western cultures include…
Biologically based practices in CAVM use substances found in nature, such as herbs, foods, and vitamins.
Some examples include dietary supplements, herbal products, and the use of “natural” remedies such as shark cartilage for cancer treatment or raw beets for liver disease.
Manipulative and body based practices are based on manipulation (the application of controlled force to a joint, moving it beyond the normal range of motion in an effort to aid in restoring health)
Energy therapies involve the use and manipulation of energy fields that surround the body. There are two types of these therapeutics…
Currently at Legacy Animal Medical Center we offer the following alternative and holistic medicine services:
Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
Western Developed CAVM Practices
Biologically Based CAVM Practices
Dr. Meagan regularly writes on the topics of alternative pet care on our blog. For more information on alternative and holistic medicine for your pet, you can schedule an appointment to speak with Dr. Meagan or contact us for general questions.