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Holistic treatment: An option for all patients

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease." These are the words that have been formed from the great inventor Thomas Edison. These words echo in the minds of holistic therapists and other practitioners of the healing arts. Holistic therapy is notion that the body is whole a person and to achieve the optimum idea of wellness one must focus on healing and feeding the mind, body and spirit.

There are many holistic practitioners with a variety of skills. There is complementary and alternative medicine which is a type of healing that includes but is not limited to homeopathy, acupuncture, reiki healing, and herbal remedies. Another type of holistic healing are movement therapies such as yoga, meditation, tai chi, chakra alignment, breathing and relaxation methods as well as exercises instructed by a personal trainer. In the word of Hippocrates, “Let food be thy medicine.” Another aspect of treatment is diet. A person can have whatever diet is most comfortable for them; however the goal should be to have a healthier diet compared to the Standard American Diet to reduces the chances of illness and allow personal growth.

Holistic treatment is important because it allows the patient and the affected loved ones to regain a sense of self, have personalized care and it allows more options that the person can find suitable. Think of a sick body as crumbled pieces of a building. In order to restore the building the previous pieces must be removed and cleared before building can begin. In many situations a person’s diet, lifestyle and mental clarity need to be fixed before he or she can move on in the process of healing. Humans are whole beings and need to be respected as such. Often times the body is looked at and treated as if it is a piece to a puzzle. Instead of looking at that piece, one should look at the bigger picture.

In May of 2000 a study was conducted at New York University—Rusk Institute by Dr. Yehuda Ben-Yishay and Dr. Ellen Daniels-Zide. The study was titled Examined Lives: Outcomes After Holistic Rehabilitation. It focused on the lives of a few patients and how they improved and coped with their disability or trauma once they found their “examined self.” Each person of this study suffered a type of brain injury and was sent to rehabilitation for about ten months. Twenty-four participants were used in this study, each person had a different troubled past. Out of the Twenty-four, we will examine and discuss one case. The first sample is by a man who goes by the alias R. R was an immigration attorney and community leader that suffered a brain injury and had a difficult time making peace with his shortcoming. After years of struggling for this peace he entered New York Universities’ rehabilitation study and examined the person he is. The most difficult part was letting go of the person he once was and coming to terms with the person he became. For years R admired his “Uncle Jimmy” because, like R, he suffered from an illness, yet he lived a fulfilled life. R was influenced by Uncle Jimmy and decided he should become a role model for the young people of his area as well as those with brain injury. Once R rebuilt his identity he felt empowered and self-sufficient. He stated at other rehabilitation facilities he found the most part was coping with his disability but with this method he uses his disability to open more doors for himself. The methods used in this study were mainly self-care and adjustment tasks. The researches felt as if allowing the participants to care for themselves as they would in their natural environments, would in the end be beneficial for the patients. They also focused on the realization that each person has to go about their day differently than they did before the injury. The researchers did this because they wanted the participants to understand they have no restrictions or limitations but they may need to take a longer and alternative path to complete a task.

Spring of 2011 was an exciting year for Dr. Jenny Brown and her associates. They released a study that showed a group of people lost, managed and kept off weight much more effectively when their journey was holistic compared to other members that did not have a holistic approach. The study was carried out for six months, with a sample size of sixty-four and a special population of men and woman with obesity. Half of the population was split into holistic approaches and the other had traditional methods of weight loss. From that half included and equal amount of men and women. The researchers focused the holistic group on the idea of involvement. Their friends, families and co-workers were told about their diet and were ask to encourage them as well as keep an eye on them if they attempt to fall off their diet. The holistic participants also did group exercises, kept a daily journal, and had movement therapies. Their movement therapies consisted of Pilates and breathing and relaxation techniques. Group exercises were another way to form a specific support system that one can bond with due to shared experiences. Sleeping was important during this study because as the participant lost weight they began to notice their irregular sleeping patterns. The participants were given instructions on how to relax and breathe peacefully throughout the night. Their bodies were so used to having a large amount of weight on them; it was difficult for the body to adjust after the years of straining. After the study, researchers noticed that the people that participated in the holistic treatment reached their goals much more quickly and maintained their goal for longer periods of time compared to the group that had the traditional methods. The researchers noted that the participants said the most challenging part of weight loss was the emotional problems that were brought up. Having the constant emotional support lowered anxiety, depression, craving, quitting and chances of relapse. Dr. Brown concluded there are so many factors that need to be considered with weight loss. Using the information given in this study, the idea is supported that a person can improve if they are supported by their peer group and given appropriate care.

Recently, in May of 2013 Dr. Daniel J. Libby and his colleges published a study in which complementary and alternative medicine to patients was allowed with patients that had post-traumatic stress disorder. The research was done at VA New England Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center, West Haven, Connecticut as well as National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Evaluation Division of West Haven, Connecticut. The patients with PTSD were allowed to have the option of holistic therapy specifically CAM. 600 individuals were used in this study. From the 600, half was given the opportunity of holistic therapy while the other half was not offered. The study concluded that patients with PSTD were just as likely to use CAM as much as they would conventional methods of therapy if given the options. Using this information, the idea can be supported that holistic therapy should be an option as much as any of type of therapy.

As said there is not enough research done on this topic however, using the statistics of the previous studies it can be supported that holistic treatments should be an option for all patients. Hopefully, one day holistic treatments will be offered as commonly as medication and physical therapy.

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