Integrative healing is a holistic approach to health care and the way in which we treat our bodies. It is an inclusive approach rather than being exclusive. It is possible to embrace integrative healing without being ill, or having a medical condition. It allows the body time to unwind and aids in the de-stressing process in a non invasive way.
There have been many major advances in conventional medicine in recent years. In fact there have been more medical advances and developments in the past four decades than at any other time in the history of medicine. But conventional medicine has been less successful in combating chronic illness such as heart disease, cancer, depression, and a whole range of emotional illnesses including anxiety, stress, tension and fatigue. Many prescribed drugs pose the risk of powerful and distressing side effects. In some cases drugs are prescribed to treat the side effect of another. As a direct result of this consumers are seeking an ‘Alternative’ or complementary approach to health care and well-being.
These ‘Alternative’ methods which include Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Acupuncture, Osteopathy, Shiatsu, Tai Chi, Homeopathy, Herbal and Nutritional Therapies are considered less invasive and holistic. The holistic approach treats the whole person – body mind emotions and spirit. If you go to your GP with a pain in your knee, he will prescribe a treatment for that condition. If you go for a holistic treatment such as reflexology, the practitioner treats the whole body, not just the specific ailment, which may be a side effect of another condition, such as stress. ‘A pill for an ill’. A medical doctor prescribes a drug for a particular ailment. With integrative healing the practitioner aims to treat the body, rather than the condition or problem itself.
To quote Plato – “the part can never be well unless the whole is well”.
The source may be stress. By de-stressing the body, the particular ailment can be reduced and become more manageable over time. Some health care providers recognise the benefits of preventative health and the trend towards including integrative therapies into their health care insurance cover and so have incorporated some aspects under their health cover, including reflexology, and acupuncture. Behind many of the alternative therapies is a common perspective.
The body has remarkable powers of self repair. If the body’s immune system is boosted it can prevent disease taking root in the first place enhancing and accelerating the self healing process or the body’s natural defence system. A herb taken to treat an infection often strengthens the immune system boosting its own resources to kill the bacteria. If an antibiotic is taken for the same infection it kills the bacteria, along with all the natural flora of the body, both good and bad. This takes time for the body to replenish the good bacteria to help fight the infection. Natural pro-biotics can help speed up this process.