What is a Holistic Doctor?

A holistic doctor is a fully-qualified health professional who possesses a medical degree, but with a focus on holistic medicine. He or she has received training in one or more areas of complementary medicine.

The difference between a holistic doctor and a general practitioner (GP) is that holistic doctors address health issues from a holistic standpoint. They treat the body as a whole, and not just the symptoms present. Apart from the physical health, holistic doctors will look for various ways to improve the emotional and spiritual health of the patient.

What is holistic medicine?

How Does Holistic Medicine Work?

Holistic medicine is a form of healing that treats the patient as a whole person. Aside from treating the illness and its symptoms, holistic medicine takes the patient's physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellbeing into account. It also attempts to prevent future illness by placing a much greater emphasis on optimizing health — the natural state of the body. It is perceived that illness or disease is an imbalance in the body and holistic medicine attempts to correct it.

Holistic doctors support the idea of treating the person as a whole to eliminate the disease and promote a state of overall wellness. They look at different areas such as diet, exercise, nutrition and lifestyle changes, as well as alternative treatments available which a standard medical doctor may not consider.

What are the Benefits of Seeing a Holistic Doctor?

Holistic medicine focuses on encouraging the person to strive for healthy living and wholeness by striking the right balance between all aspects of their life, including the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual. 

To help their patient achieve that, a holistic doctor takes the time to get to know them. They ask about their lifestyle, their daily stressors, and their eating habits, among others. Unlike conventional doctors, they don't resort to medication right away. By taking their time with their patient, the holistic doctor is able to identify which treatment approach is best suited for their needs. The following are some of the benefits that holistic medicine offers:

  • An understanding of the need for a well-balanced lifestyle
  • Improvement of overall general health and wellbeing
  • More treatment options that focus on natural care
  • Treats conditions where conventional medicine has failed
  • Prevention of diseases or chronic conditions
  • Care and treatment approach tailored to one's individual needs
  • No side effects

What is the Difference Between a Holistic Doctor and a Naturopathic Doctor?

Holistic doctors and naturopathic doctors are both medical doctors (MD) trained in primary care but with different focuses. As the name implies, holistic doctors focus on holistic medicine which involves the treatment of the patient as a whole, with the goal of achieving optimal health and wellness by addressing physical, mental, spiritual and emotional issues. Naturopathic doctors, on the other hand, focus on naturopathic medicine which involves the treatment of the patient by identifying his or her unique aspects, and then employing natural therapies to help him or her restore physiological, psychological and structural balance.

What Can You Expect From a Holistic Doctor?

What happens in your initial consultation with a holistic doctor depends on the kind of practitioner that you're consulting with and the problem you need a solution for. There are holistic doctors who specialise in osteopathy, TCM, naturopathy, chiropractic, Ayurveda, and the list goes on. They may differ in terms of specialisation, but they follow the same principle when it comes to treating, diagnosing and preventing disease or illness—treat the person as a whole. 

A consultation typically lasts for an hour and covers the client's medical history, lifestyle, eating habits, sleep habits and stressors, to name just a few. See to it that you bring all of your medical records to show your holistic doctor. Expect a lot of questions from the latter, including conventional treatments that you've tried in the past. The Q&A stage is critical to your journey to wellness as it gives the practitioner an insight into your problem and what you wish to achieve from the consultation.

It's totally okay to ask questions, especially with regard to the treatment plan that they have for you. Any holistic doctor will be more than happy to educate their patient on what they do, why they do it and how they do it. Forget the conventional consultation pattern where you relay your problem, the doctor writes a prescription and you take it to the pharmacy to get the medicine you need.

The holistic approach may include lifestyle changes, advice on proper nutrition, and a combination of other conventional and complementary treatments. 

Is it Safe to See a Holistic Doctor?

Anyone, from children to the elderly, can safely achieve optimal health with the guidance of a holistic doctor. They don't superficially treat the symptoms of disease, nor do they provide temporary relief. Their goal is to provide lasting results without endangering anyone's health with medications that cause adverse effects.