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Tidbits for the Road; Wholistic Health and Medicine

Updated on December 23, 2009

Learning the "Lingo": Differences and Similarities

As a "Tidbit for the Road" entry, this hub will explain a few concepts for those souls that are just beginning to discover what the wholistic lifestyle aspects are all about. Please read my previous hubs on Holistic Lifestyle Planning for basic information; having a general overview of being wholistic will help this hub make more sense as a guide to thinking differently and intuitively about your health.

When someone recognizes the need to change the way they look at medicine and how it works within their own realm of personal health, the basic perceptions of health that will change are; taking greater charge over one's own health, considering wellness, and practicing preventive concepts as the ideal that eventually becomes a lifestyle, a natural way of living life day to day.

In the wholistic perspective I bring to the table for consideration, those basics are grounded in looking to one's own intuitive/highest inner guidance for choosing the best integration of all choices of medicine that are available for the individual's needs to be met. Wholistic means looking at the individual's own unique needs. We are not all the same in how things need to be dealt with to improve or maintain health, though we do have similar needs in general as human beings.

The modalities can include a broad range of techniques that have come down through the ages, from various countries and cultures, as well as, new ideas that have developed or expanded from these traditional concepts. Cultural medicines like from the Oriental techniques of acupuncture and meridians, Native American sweat logdes, all herbs and decoctions therefrom, essential oils, homeopathy, massage, EMDR, Health Kinesiology, BrainGym, visualization, meditation, prayer, faith, etc...just to name a few.

Consider also, the herbs and oils and decoctions therefrom, are all different than the medicines and drugs that have been synthesized from organic materials or even completely inorganically produced by modern science, creating products that do not have the pure essence of the organic material let alone the "potence". And this does have the greatest of all importance to health, whether modern science agrees or not. Who you are talking to has a lot to do with what modalities and products will come up.

There are many complementary modalities (some call non-traditional) that can be added to the modern western style of medicine (some call traditional). The doctors that have chosen to add complementary modalities to their original medical practice may call themselves "integrated practitioners", but in actuality have no training as to what it means to be a practitioner of integrating complementary modalities to their modern western medical practice.

There are no mainstream and few holistic training courses for doing so. A doctor could just get knowledge in a particular modality and simply use it in his mainstream medical practice as he perceived fit, i.e. learning about aromatherapy and massage (to use essential oils and massage to provide a patient assistance in dealing with pain, for instance). Likewise, someone who is not a doctor can get the same knowledge and hang out a shingle to practice. I prefer somewhere in between, where considerations for practicing will have valid and proven efficacy and safety measures, as well as a genuine proven concern for life, not just a desire to amass money and power. And these things are in process, but like the concept of change, it happens in gradual steps. I have faith for change.

Or one could choose to move completely away from modern medicine and look strictly at only using the non-traditional medicines, that are called complementary or alternative modalities. This has worked well for chronic illness by developing daily wellness knowledge and using that to prevent illness; though I would personally also be glad to go to a hospital if I broke my leg!

The language used for the terms is dependent upon which side of the fence you are standing. The terms "alternative", "complementary", "non-traditional" were all coined by the mainstream modern western medicine doctors and institutions. Obviously, implying that these modalities aren't the "original" thing and are not to be considered without the input of a doctor and of western medicine perspective. What they call integrative medicine makes use of these modalities as an aside or afterthought.

When you are speaking to healers and practitioners, that are not strictly focused on first being a member of the mainstream medical world or deny it altogether (which few do), of wholistic medicine, they don't often use the terms "complementary", "alternative", or especially "non-traditional", because to them the modalities are original traditional techniques that have been around for centuries from various countries. The term "holistic" I believe was the first term generally used to label these original, traditional techniques as a group of techniques. And holistic is still used.

I discovered the use of the term "wholisitc" after a decade (the 1960s) of people writing about their use, as perspectives and definitions for particular modalities became more widespread as common knowledge. It became a desire to have greater responsibility and control over one's own life. And the terms "holisitic" and" wholisitic" came to truly mean a consideration of all the aspects of life. I chose to stick with using wholistic because to me, we are dealing with the whole picture of an individual, and the aspects of their whole life when considering health.

But through the years, some doctors have moved from being strictly within mainstream and began to use and experience great benefits from non-traditional modalities, saying that honestly, they use them because it brings a more personal and "feeling" touch to their practice. They became aware that their attitudes were lacking in compassionate interaction with their patients. These homey, soul soothing modalities brought a balance to their practice of western medicine. I personally would like to see even greater acceptance and use of this kind of integration of medicines. But I truly think there should be one way, one set of words to describe the realms of medicine for the sake of clarity...but no one seems willing to concede on that yet!

I am not sure when and where the term "modalities" came into use. It sounds to me like something the mainstream science would come up with. But it makes sense, there are different modes of addressing healing and medicine. I appreciate the integration of some of the modern science perspectives and techniques with the traditional developments of healing that have been around since the beginning of recorded history, and how they have progressed in some cases side by side.

But to me there is still too much attitude of human ego manipulating, controlling and interfering with the natural healing process we were created with. Like everything else in the world, the human egos of some people have mucked up a good system, trying to take charge, to assert power and money over others. But it is not too late to change.

In the Twin Cities area, in a suburb named Woodbury, is a new hospital called Woodwinds Health Campus that has done just that. I visited this hospital and took a guided tour. It truly was an integrated environment. It did not smell like a hospital, though it definitely was squeaky clean. It was set up like a resort with outdoors areas of beauty and rooms of nice wall paper, pictures and arrangements of a more relaxing place to visit. They even had a pianist on duty a least once a day in the front open hall that played music that could be heard almost everywhere the acoustics were so good! The wing of non-traditional modalities was there to draw from and use throughout the entire hospital, for whoever and whenever necessary and asked for.

I was impressed with the maternity ward and labor rooms, very soothing and lovely, but with all the necessary medical equipment in case it was needed for specific circumstances, within each room, discretely hidden away. Check out their website at I understand it is the only one of its kind in the US. But I do know many hospitals are going in that direction. That is a good thing.

Now if we could just bring the costs down and get rid of the monopoly of the pharmaceutical companies, and help keep people from getting lost in these huge systems of medicine and red-tape bureaucracy, we would be farther down the road to a healthier society. I personally don't like the idea of a mandated health-care system. I don't want anyone telling me how to care for myself or stipulating that I have to have insurance for this, that or the other thing.

People have responded to my statement with, but what about all the people that need money for extensive health care problems? Well, of course, it would have to be a gradual shift to a greater wholistic society. In the mean time those people should be able to get what they need, but getting informed how to change will need to come from everyone. But, you know, those people are not the majority of people in the health-care system.

Did you know that the most common problems are chronic, these are the conditions that cost the health-care system the most money... and not dealing with chronic issues is what causes most diseases and surgeries? What non-traditional modalities and a wholistic perspective does is prevent and bring back into balance, the chronic circumstances. People need to be more informed and become more responsible for their own health instead of depending on a system that can make them sick and eventually invalids, and taken apart a piece at a time, using up any savings or retirement funds they may have been able to accumulate.

Our societal consciousness has to change, we can't just keep giving ourselves over to these systems that are beasts eating us alive (our money, our time, our sense of independence, our individual sovereignty, our soul sense of strength) a bit at a time. Wake up America, our lives are in jeopardy!

OK, so off the soapbox I come. Let's just keep moving in the right direction and stop expecting the government to bail us out of the mess they created for us, but which we allowed them to do.

WE have got to take more action, different kinds of action, and speak up for our own benefit.

WE will be healthier for it ! And so will society.

There is so much more I could say...but this is suppose to be a "Tidbit"!

Remember these are my own perspectives from my own lifetime experiences and 20 years of research. If there is any aspect you can agree with, go for it! And leave the rest...but go for it!!!


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