Due to conflicting media reports and a lack of definitive information on topics relating to alternative medicine, many people often find themselves confused by certain terms. Here we will look at how homoeopathy differs from holistic medicine.
Holistic medicine and homoeopathy are often used interchangeably, but they are in fact two distinct medical terms with significant differences.
Holistic medicine is a catch-all term used to describe a number of therapies, all of which are centred around the idea of treating a patient “as a whole”. It explores a person’s entire being in the various different categories of mental, physical, psychological and spiritual. Each aspect must be investigated fully to achieve a definitive picture of a patient’s health and well-being.
The holistic approach tends to focus less on simply treating symptoms, and instead attempts to find the root cause of an issue. Long-term prevention of illness is one of the holistic medicines main goals, and it aims to achieve this through optimizing a patients health. Finding imbalances in the physical or psychological states of a patient can help pinpoint where specific problems arise from. Often, by treating these root causes, other health issues the patient is experiencing are also cured.
Homoeopathy, rather than being another term for holistic medicine, is, in fact, a specific type of holistic medicine. Homoeopathy makes up a small part of the entire holistic group of treatments and isn’t necessarily practised by all holistic doctors.
Homoeopathy is a natural healing method intended to restore and improve general health. It is considered a very safe, gentle treatment and is made from environmentally friendly sources – usually plants and minerals. However, it’s effectiveness has come into question and many of its claims remain to be proven. By comparison, holistic medicine as a whole involves a number of different methodologies and in general, is accepted as a proven medical science.
Homoeopathy is based on the principle of treating ‘like with like’ – in other words, using the cause of an ailment to treat the ailment. It involves diluting trace amounts of a chosen substance in alcohol or distilled water until no molecules of the original substance remain. As with holistic medicine, the substances are chosen by considering all aspects of a patient’s entire mental, physical, psychological and spiritual profile.
There are a number of cases where homoeopathy users have found the treatment to be beneficial, including both minor ailments and acute illnesses. Sufferers of asthma, migraines, ear infections and sore throats often report significant improvement in symptoms after using a homoeopathic remedy. More chronic conditions that have also been said to improve with treatment include autism, depression and arthritis.
While homoeopathy always prescribes treatment from a diluted preparation, holistic medicine would usually prescribe a varied mixture of treatments from both alternative and traditional medicine. Homoeopathy attempts to cure an ailment with the least amount of interference, believing the body will react to the presence of the diluted chemical and cure itself. Holistic medicine, in general, has a more proactive and wider-reaching diagnosis.