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Updated on January 10, 2010


Holistic treatment is unlike modern medicine which is disease centric and technology based. It’s credibility rests on its scientific approach and has rapidly advanced in alleviating pain and disease.

Holistic treatment focuses not just on the disease afflicting a person but addresses his psychological and social aspects too, because illness in a person not only impairs his body but his psychological state too. For example a person with skin disease suffers not only due to the disease but it affects him psychologically too. The person may become obsessed by it and gradually loses confidence which in turn makes social interaction difficult. A simple may not only maim you but leave you psychologically scarred.

Alternative medicine resorts to non-conventional healing methods using usually a holistic approach in treatment.  Alternative medicine aims to amplify the self-healing capabilities of body and mind and can be used side by side with conventional medicine. Practitioners of modern medicine however frown upon this practice.


1.       AYURVEDA: This ancient Indian system of medicine is based on the belief that a healthy body is due to the harmonious balance of three humors or energies like VATA (air), PITTA (bile) and KAPHA (phlegm) any imbalance usually results in disease. As the treatment is not just focused on the body but also on the mind and spirit, Ayurveda place emphasis on massage, Yoga and meditation.

2.       ACUPUNCTURE: This is an ancient Chinese technique where general health is restored and organs remedied by inserting needles in specific areas.

3.       NATUROPATHY: This is a system of alternative medicine which uses water and diet to cleanse our body system and help it regain health.

4.       HOMEOPATHY: Founded by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann, this based on the principle that ‘like cures like’. He believed that administration of a large amount of particular drug may cause symptoms of a disease and moderate dosage may reduce those symptoms.

5.       CHIROPRACTIC:  This is a system of health care based on the concept that the nervous system is the single most important determinant of a person’s state of health.  Founded by D.D. Palmer this is very popular form of alternative medicine in America, Canada and Australia.

6.       HERBALISM: In this system of medicine healing is done using herbs and natural remedies. Ayurvedic and tribal medicine make extensive use of herbs in treatment

7.       REIKI: This is Japanese method of healing developed by Dr. Mikao Usui. This is a system of natural healing which is based on the tenet that there is an unseen ‘life force energy’ which flows through us and keeps us alive and healthy. The Reiki practitioner  is usually a person who has ‘attuned’ to this by a Reiki master and goes about healing placing hands on person’s body in a non-intrusive manner, in a number of specific points. A whole body treatment usually lasts. about 1 ½ hours and helps a person to relax and recover. The philosophy of Reiki is beautifully summed in these simple principles laid down by Mikao Usui and they are known as GOKAI

"The secret method of inviting good fortune.

The marvelous medicine for all sickness

Just for today:

Do not be angry

Do not worry

Be grateful

Work with integrity

Be kind to others and to yourself.

Every morning and every night, sit in the Gassho position [hands held palm-to-palm] and speak these words out loud in your heart.

For the evolution of body and soul, Usui Reiki Ryoho" 

8.       PRANIC HEALING: This is very much similar to Reiki because here too its healing force is based on the belief of a pervading ‘life-force’. In fact the word has its origin in the Sanskrit word ‘PRANA’ which means ‘LIFE FORCE’ and healing takes place because our body is a self-healing entity. Our body is enveloped by an aura of bio-magnetic field which first absorbs the life-energy and distributes it to various parts of the physical body.  Disease occurs when there are ruptures in the aura and the resulting disruptions in the energy distribution. Master Choa Kok Sui was the person responsible for reviving and popularizing this ancient form of healing.

9.       HYPNOTHERAPY:  In this system healing is done by using suggestion to root out self-destructive habits which are embedded in our sub-conscious mind. This is usually done by inducing a sleeplike state and as the patient become relaxed he becomes amenable to suggestion. This was used for therapeutic purposes by Freud, Charcot and Breuer.

10.   UNANI:   Unan or Yunan actually means Greece, and this system of medicine therefore highlights its Greek origin. It was however Hakim Ibn Sina (better known as Avicenna in the west) who developed this system of healing in his medical encyclopedia THE CANON OF HEALING. As in Ayurveda the concept of the four humors BALGHAM (Phlegm), DAM (Blood), SAFRA (Yellow Bile) and SAUDA (black bile) find its application here. This Graeco-Arabic medicine is popular in most parts of the Indian sub-continent. 



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