Holistic, Alternative Medicine for Floyd

A group that is bringing widespread notoriety to Floyd (besides our artisans, musicians, etc.) is our field of Holistic Health Practitioners.  They bring a diverse offering of talent, skills and experience to the Floyd community.  While some practitioners are indigenous to Floyd and others are transplants, they all call Floyd “home”, and they are helping clients and patients achieve health, wellness and self discovery.

Holistic Medicine was the Only Medicine – Holistic medicine has been around since human history was in its infancy.  Plants and herbs were the first medicines and they have been used throughout the ages to relieve symptoms and to treat underlying conditions which lead to illness.  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, was born approximately 460 B.C., and was said to have cured every disease known to man with herbs only.  The Bible even makes reference to the use of herbs for the healing of the nation (Ezekiel 47:12 and in the Psalms).

The Early Years – The actual term “holistic” was coined in 1926 by Jan Smuts.  The holistic approach to medicine views the person as a whole rather than symptoms or a disease.  Instead of treating just the symptoms, holistic practitioners treat the entire person including the mental, physical and spiritual aspects.  This is reminiscent of the country doctor who not only knew his patients from the local church or community, but visited them in their homes, and was willing to listen, console and address their specific needs.

The Modern Doctor – In the 1800s, Doctors began to learn more about anatomy, physiology, and the concept of bacteria and virus causing disease.  Just after World War I, Western conventional medicine came into the forefront, diverging from the tenets of the holistic community.

More pharmaceutical remedies were developed and used; there was an increase in lab testing, vaccines, surgical techniques and a better understanding of the causes of disease.  Consequently, Western medical schools emphasized these techniques over ancient herbal, holistic medicine and homeopathic remedies.  The U.S. government encouraged and funded research into drugs and vaccines rather than investing in natural plant-based cures.  Also, pharmaceutical drugs saved lives and prevented suffering for serious and life-threatening illnesses and diseases.

The Journey Full Circle – By the 1970s, some people began to shift their support from Western medicine to a more holistic approach as new information became available regarding the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals.  More and more, people sought natural cures which led them full circle back to the roots of medicine: holistic remedies, herbs, diet and nutritional therapies, as well as chiropractic treatments.

While some conventional doctors remain skeptical about the efficacy of holistic therapies, others are starting to refer their patients to holistic practitioners.  Doctors are also becoming concerned about the harmful side effects of many drug therapies and they want to preserve quality of life for patients with chronic diseases.

Sometimes holistic treatment, nutritional therapy, and/or herbal remedies offer a gentler treatment.  Many doctors are now seeking holistic education to learn how they can incorporate the various remedies into their conventional practices.  Although the two sides often do not see eye to eye, holistic medicine is once again being integrated with conventional medicine as a viable alternative.

Just the Facts – While there are many people who include herbal and natural medicine in their healthcare regimen, some are skeptical about its effectiveness and remain on the fence or choose not to engage in holistic medicine at all.  Here are the facts, according to the National Institute of Health (NIH):

4 out of 10 U.S. adults use complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).  The term “complementary and alternative medicine” (CAM) encompasses a wide array of health care practices, products, and therapies that are distinct from practices, products, and therapies used in “conventional” or “allopathic” medicine.  Some forms of CAM, such as traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, have been practiced for centuries, whereas others are more recent in origin (reference www.fda.gov).

83 million U.S. adults spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on visits to CAM practitioners and on purchases of CAM products, classes, and materials.

Non-vitamin and non-mineral natural products are the most commonly used CAM therapy among adults.

The use of deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage therapy and yoga are on the increase.

Recognized CAM therapies include Naturopathy, Energy, Movement and Diet Based Therapies, Physical Manipulation, Deep Breathing Exercises, Traditional (Folk) Healers and Native American Healer/Medicine Man.

Many of the CAM therapies have been proven effective in the treatment of pain and other chronic diseases.

Your Holistic Alternative – Holistic, alternative medicine has many qualified practitioners here in Floyd and is one of the fastest growing areas of interest.  People are exploring holistic alternatives, in part due to the rising cost of medical care and the unpleasant side effects of pharmaceutical drugs, as well as a desire for whole-body wellness.

Some common health complaints that people have that may be addressed by holistic therapies include:

Back, Hip, Knee and Joint Pain, Neck and Shoulder Problems, Headaches, Anger Management and Emotional Imbalances, Digestive Disorders, Gynecological Problems, Fatigue, Insomnia, Stress, Parasites and Fungus.

In general, Holistic treatments are best suited to address long-term, chronic conditions and are often an effective alternative to drugs or surgery. Regardless of the ailment, it is prudent to consult your medical doctor first, and in emergencies to go to the hospital.  There are many conditions that may be treated successfully by holistic medicine; and, here in Floyd, a wealth of practitioners are ready to assist.

Thomas Edison recognized the value of holistic medicine when he said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”

Written by Ivan Anderson Co-owner of the Healing Tree Wellness Center. He is a certified Shiatsu Therapist. His primary focus is pain relief and health recovery.

Luis A Garcia
Proprietor / Graphic Designer
FLOYD VIRGINIA publication
(540) 320 1045 – luis@floydmagazine.com

This story was published in Floyd Magazine Fall/Winter 2010 ~Senior Editor Dee Wallace

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