Holistic treatments utilize methods that focus on the whole person, including the body, emotions, mind and spirit, as stated by WebMD. Holistic medical practitioners often use a variety of methods ranging from traditional Western medicine to alternative treatments such as acupuncture, massage therapy, psychotherapy and diet modifications.
According to the philosophy of holistic medicine, all parts of the body are interdependent, so an illness that affects one part affects the whole body, according to WebMD. For instance, a holistic doctor may prescribe medications for migraine headaches, but he may also look at lifestyle factors that could be causing or contributing to the headaches, such as poor sleep habits and stress. He may then prescribe lifestyle modifications based on this evaluation. Holistic medicine maintains that patients can achieve optimal health and wellness by finding balance in life.
Principles that guide holistic treatment include the belief that patients are people rather than diseases to be treated, that people possess innate healing abilities, and that treatment should address the cause rather than simply relieve symptoms, as confirmed by WebMD. Depending on the holistic doctor's training, other treatment methods may include homeopathy, chiropractic care, naturopathy and spiritual counseling. Patients should select a doctor who has time to address their needs, is certified by a legitimate medical board and makes them feel comfortable.