The Vital Need for Holistic Medicine in Today’s World
The High Price of Health
The health care crisis in the United States is fueled by rising costs that have left more and more people unable to afford fundamental care for themselves and their families. For those who have no medical insurance and others who must to pick and choose what their insurance will allow, decisions over one’s well being and that of loved ones are often made by what a person can afford, not what is best for their health.
Holistic medicine is not controlled by insurance companies or a corporate medical world, but by individual healers and associations who use natural methods. While there are fees for services and costs involved in cultivating herbs and natural remedies, these are far less expensive than the costs incurred by using conventional Western medicine. That is one reason people who cannot afford the high cost of mainstream medicine are increasingly turning to the affordable and accessible health care provided by practitioners of holistic medicine.
Dangerous Side Effects
In addition to exorbitant health care costs, the severe and debilitating side effects associated with pharmaceutical drugs are causing concerned patients to search for safer methods of healing. While curing symptoms, many prescription drugs have side effects that as debilitating or worse than the illnesses they treat, and some drugs have been taken off the market only after causing numerous deaths. The FDA has recalled many such drugs, including the blood pressure drug Posicor, responsible for 100 deaths, the painkiller Duract, suspected in 68 deaths, and the arthritis and pain relieving drug Vioxx, which contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands of individuals in the 5 years it was prescribed. At a time when even supposedly “safe” drugs have numerous potential side effects, it is no wonder that increasing numbers of people are seeking safe alternatives for healing illness and maintaining wellness.
These dramatic examples of a troubled health care system would not be sufficient to drive people towards holistic medicine if it did not provide truly effective methods for healing illness and promoting bodily health. Health care consumers seeking cures for illness and chronic conditions, techniques for balancing mind and body, and those desiring a holistic lifestyle that includes natural medicine, diet, and physical and spiritual exercise such as yoga have all been responsible for the dramatic surge in the popularity of holistic medicine. Treatments that were largely ignored by the medical profession only decades ago are increasingly being tested and documented as effective, and many patients who have not had success using conventional medicine find renewed health and energy through holistic healing.
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reported in a 2008 study that 40 percent of adult Americans use some form of holistic medicine, and health care workers are incorporating holistic medicine into their personal lives to an even greater degree. A 2001 study in the Health Services Research journal reported that 76 percent of health care workers and 83 percent of doctors and nurses use some form of complementary and alternative medicine to take care of their personal health.
Yet in addition to affordability, safety, and newly publicized discoveries of holistic medicine’s efficacy in treating illness, there are other important reasons that people turn to holistic and traditional techniques of healing.
Tradition and Common Sense
In many nations, and to this day in parts of rural America, time tested traditional remedies, herbs, and other natural treatments that have been passed on from generation to generation are still widely used. Though some traditional knowledge has been lost during in the rush to Western technology and science, numerous local healing techniques survive and some are even being studied by modern research institutions.
Many people are drawn to alternative medicine because it is simple and makes good common sense. Holistic medicine’s philosophy of treating the whole person rather than focusing on a single symptom has widespread appeal, and the fact that herbs and medicines used in holistic medicine are made from naturally occurring substances is appreciated by conscious health care consumers.
A smaller percentage of people turn to holistic medicine because their religious beliefs prohibit them from utilizing many of the procedures common to Western medicine. For these communities, holistic medicine is the only health care option they have, and one they can fortunately use to promote health and healing.
Holistic Medicine Today
There are many reasons that lead a person to explore the healing potential of holistic medicine, and the field has many unique branches of study and practice. Yet everyone who walks this path has something fundamental in common. Once a person discovers the inspiring world of natural practitioners working to bring healing and harmony to the world, one’s entire way of viewing health and well-being is transformed.
As we look at the state of health care today, we can see the vital need for holistic medicine. Here at the NAUHSRC, we work to help each individual discover the gift of safe, affordable, and effective natural health care.