Holistic Medicine vs. Homeopathy: What Is the Difference?
Updated: Jan 24, 2021
Homeopathic and holistic medicine are two types of alternative medicines. Even though the terms are often used interchangeably, they’re actually not the same thing.
As the name suggests, holistic treatment aims to treat the whole body as opposed to conventional medicine. Conventional medicine typically only targets specific areas and ailments. Homeopathic medicine is a type of holistic treatment but requires a specific technique and method.
Traditional medicines don’t always work or may carry harmful and negative side effects. It can also end up leaving the patient feeling as if they’re a slab of meat instead of a living, breathing person with feelings and concerns. Holistic medicine aims to cure the body as well as the mind, spirit, and soul.
While some people might be interested in holistic treatment, they might not care for homeopathic medicine. By knowing about the differences between these two terms, you can make more educated and informed decisions about your health and treatment decisions.
Interested in learning more? Then continue reading, and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know!
What Is Holistic Medicine?
Holistic medicine is a type of treatment that takes the entire person into consideration in the journey for optimal wellness and health. This includes the person’s mind, emotions, body, and spirit.
The philosophy of holistic medicine is that you can achieve optimal health by gaining a certain balance in your life. Achieving optimal health is the main goal of holistic medicine treatments.
People who practice holistic medicine work with the belief that the entire person is made up of independent components. And if one component isn’t properly working, then all of the other components of the person will be affected.
Because of this, a person who has an imbalance in their life may see their overall health be affected in a negative way. The imbalance can be spiritual, emotional, or physical.
A doctor who performs holistic treatments might use a variety of types of health care. These can range from conventional medicines to alternative treatments in order to treat the patient.
For example, let’s imagine that you’re suffering from an intense migraine headache. If you were to visit a holistic doctor, you will likely be given a treatment that includes more than just medications.
The doctor will likely consider other possible factors that are causing your headaches. These factors can include:
sleep and diet habits
personal problems and stress
other health issues
In the end, you might walk away with some anti-migraine medications. But you might also be asked to undergo changes to your lifestyle in order to stop the migraines from coming back.
Principles of Holistic Medicine
An important belief of holistic medicine is that unconditional support and love is the most powerful healer. Also, a person is ultimately in charge of his own well-being and health. Other principles of holistic medicine include:
The patient should be seen as a person and not a disease
All people have healing powers that are innate
Healing takes a team approach that involves the doctor and the patient
The approach should address all aspects of the patient’s life
Practitioners of holistic medicine aim to fix the cause of the ailment. They don’t want to simply relieve the symptoms.
Types of Holistic Treatments
Doctors who practice holistic treatment will likely use a range of treatment methods in order to help the patient take charge fo their own well-being. The hope of this is that the patient will eventually reach optimal health. Depending on the practitioner’s treatment style, they may a variety of tactics.
One method is through patient education. Here, they prescribe lifestyle changes and self-care in order to promote better health. This can include exercise, spiritual and relationship counseling, Qi Gong and other spiritual exercises, diet, psychotherapy, and more.
Alternative and complementary treatments that the doctor might employ include chiropractic care, massage therapy, acupuncture, naturopathy, and homeopathy.
Lastly, the doctor might also utilize conventional Western medicines and surgical operations.
What Is Homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a type of alternative medical treatment that can be used under the umbrella of holistic medicine. Using homeopathy on its own though would not constitute a full holistic treatment.
Homeopathy is actually much more technical and specific than what many people believe it to be. The medical practice was developed by a German doctor, Samuel Hahnemann, at the end of the 1700s.
Hahnemann founded homeopathy under the belief that “like cures like” and that small concentrations of a certain toxin could cure the systems that it would cure in a bigger dose.
If you have a rash ivy, then poison ivy might be used in the treatment. And if you are suffering from itchy swelling, then bee venom could be used.
This thought process is actually very similar to how we treat viruses and bacterial infections today. And because Hahnemann’s treatment involved a minuscule amount of the toxin, it was seen as much safer than other medical practices at the time.
The Technicals of Homeopathy
Homeopathic treatment is based on specific dilutions and mixing. These are referred to as successions. When you get a bottle of homeopathic medicine, it will also come with the dilution level.
A normal dilution level is 30X. Here, X stands for 10. So, one part toxin is mixed with ten parts of alcohol or water. The mix is then shaken.
Then, one part of the mix is added to ten parts of alcohol or water. This whole process continues until it’s been done thirty times.
What Does Homeopathy Treat?
A person who administers homeopathic treatments is known as a homeopath. During your appointment, a homeopath will ask you a variety of questions about your physical, emotional, and mental health. They will then prescribe you a treatment that best matches all of your ailments.
If you’d like, you can purchase homeopathic treatments at health food stores and drugstores over-the-counter. The quality and dosage of these medicines will depend on the vendor.
Homeopathy is used to treat a wide range of health problems, including chronic illnesses. Some of these can include:
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome
Homeopathy can also be used to treat minor conditions, like:
By now, you’re probably wondering if it works. We’ll dive further into that below.
Does Homeopathy Work?
The research on the effectiveness of homeopathy appears to be mixed. Some people find the treatment to be helpful while other people do not. Critics of homeopathy believe that the treatment simply relies on the placebo effect.
The placebo effect is when a patient’s symptoms approve and they believe that it was thanks to the treatment. In reality, the treatment had no effect. However, chemicals in the brain can sometimes be released and actually relieve the painful symptoms when the patient believes they are working.
Critics also state that homeopathic treatments are so diluted that they’re not strong enough to have any real results. Homeopathic advocates counter this criticism by stating that there is such a thing as “water memory.”
Let’s break down what water memory is. Basically, hydrogen bonds are actual attractions between the oxygen atoms in one molecule of water and the hydrogen atoms in another. As you might know from school, a water molecule is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom.
These bonds result in a variety of odd features of water, including the crystal-like structure of ice that allows it to float above liquid water.
According to proponents of homeopathy, when you shake the mixture after each dilution, you affect the water molecules in some way. Because of this, the water “remembers” the toxin that you put into it.
The Importance of Knowing How Homeopathic Treatment Differs from Holistic Treatments
Holistic medicine has been around for a very long time. Before modern, conventional medicine, doctors would try to use natural remedies as well as holistic ones.
For many people, conventional medicine doesn’t seem like a good fit. Either their afraid of potential effects or feel that they’re not being fully treated. For these people, a holistic treatment regimen should definitely be considered.
And even though homeopathy might be part of that regiment, it’s important to know what you mean when you talk about homeopathy and holistic medicine. By doing so, you can make better choices with regard to your health and well-being.
Are you looking to learn more about the power of holistic treatments? If so, contact us today and see what we can do for you!