Health is wealth as the saying goes, and an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but if the state of your health calls for concern, restoration and management becomes key.
In this article, we will look at two alternative approaches to health restoration.
As defined by World Health Organization (WHO), traditional medicine is the total of the knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures whether explicable or not, used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement of physical or mental illness. It is a practice handed down from one generation to another either verbally or written down. It can also be referred to as folk or indigenous medicine, and it is most of the time mistaken for Western medicine.
Holistic medicine centres its practice on the total well-being of a person, linking the mind, body, spirit and emotions as one. This practice considers that if one part of a person is diagnosed as unhealthy, other parts are likely to be affected. For instance, if it is the body that the issue originates from, the mind, emotions and spiritual habits of the person should be attended to as well. Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the human being as a whole is made up of interdependent parts.
Traditional Medicine Vs Holistic Medicine
Traditional or indigenous medicine differs from holistic medicine based on their techniques, how they diagnose and how they treat illnesses. Traditional medicine focuses on treating just the illness while holistic medicine focuses on the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of an individual.
Traditional medicine looks for several ways of relieving the symptoms of an ailment using indigenous means or folk practices. While holistic medicine bothers your overall health and well-being, your internal balance and life energy, using various alternative therapies alongside conventional medicine.
Also, traditional medicine is reactionary based on the fact that its major concern is relieving symptoms and not sorting out the root cause to prevent its reoccurrence. But holistic medicine is preventive tackling both the superficial symptoms and its root cause, and that is why every aspect of wellbeing is considered.
Although traditional medicine practice can be used in the maintenance, improvement or treatment of mental illness, its biases are based on folk and indigenous beliefs with nothing about the emotional well-being of the individual, but holistic medicine is based on the basic foundation that nobody can stay healthy without love, appreciation and support from loved ones.
Benefits of Traditional Medicine
- Since it involves the use of herbs and natural oils, medications are readily available, all that is required is to grow them.
- It is sold at a much lower rate.
- It has minimal risk of side effects.
- It works for complicated and chronic ailments.
- It has a low chance of addiction.
Benefits of Holistic Medicine
- Improved overall health and well-being.
- More focus on prevention of ailment.
- More individualized care.
- The mind, body, spirit and emotions are treated together.
- Improved mental health and spiritual awareness.
- Boosts the immune system.
Downsides Of Traditional Medicine
- There are risks involved in acquiring wild herbs.
- There is the possibility of taking inferior medications as a result of adulterated mixtures and drugs.
- Medication overdose.
- It is not effective for all conditions.
Possible Downsides of Holistic Medicine
- Minimal scientific research.
- Longer treatment time.
- Not useful in emergencies.
- It is inappropriate for conditions like serious trauma.
Traditional medicine over the years has been a term used to refer to modern Western medicine as many health professionals and researchers consider it to be the practice of medicine in the Western tradition. In this article though, traditional medicine here refers to the indigenous and folk medical practice.
Traditional or indigenous medicine and holistic medicine are both alternative medical practices, that is they are different from the orthodox medical way of treatment (that is western medicine), which involves using scientific-based medications to treat ailments. Their similarities are based on their alternative approach to medicine and treating ailments but they differ in their application. While traditional medicine involves the use of herbs and natural oils in treating ailments, holistic medicine involves going beyond just the symptoms of an ailment, other aspects of well-being are also treated because it is believed that if one part is ill the others will be affected.
Holistic medicine includes a wide range of practices including the use of herbs, meditation (yoga), psychotherapy, exercise, diet, and spiritual counselling. Since it involves the wellbeing of an individual as a whole it will be the best practice for healing in this modern day. Although serious conditions can’t be treated this way, daily health issues can be managed with this practice.
As for traditional medicine practice, it can’t be ignored as it is embedded in the culture and lifestyle of indigenous people, moreover, it has its perks as it is not costly to obtain, also with knowledge and understanding of the healing herbs and natural oils, self-medication will not be a cause for alarm.
Based on the type of ailment either approach can be used or both approaches can be considered as they perform the same function and that is to maintain health. Moreover, a newer form of medical practice known as integrative medicine which encompasses a host of medical practices, like the fusion of holistic medicine and orthodox or western medicine to treat ailments is being introduced into the world of health care. This might just be a breakthrough in the field of human health care.