by Dr. Thomas Antone

It’s clear that our health care system is becoming more and more dysfunctional every day while increasing insurance premiums drive many families and individuals away from the system entirely.  The movement toward alternative healing and preventative methods is seen by millions of people as a beneficial and cost-effective health care option. Yet with the wealth of alternative practitioners in California, it may be a bit difficult to find the right alternative practice or practitioner for your particular health needs.  The emergence of clinics like Long Life Sciences of Los Gatos, that guide your search for an alternative health care program that’s right for your particular health issue, is a harbinger of things to come.

It has become more important than ever to incorporate preventive medicine within a perspective of mental and physical health and spiritual and emotional well being.  With the current surge in popularity of alternative healing methods and herbs, it has never been easier to find a Holistic Health practitioner who may hold the key to living long and living strong.

What Holistic Health practitioners promote above all else are medicines and techniques that prevent disease or injury and others that treat the whole person – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical – when one or more aspects become out of balance, and thus dis-eased.

Holistic Health Care can be essential in returning to or maintaining a healthy life.  Although Western (allopathic) medicine can be just what you need in the Emergency Room, it is not well-suited to treating chronic disease or stress-related disorders, let alone assist in the quest for balanced living (see the book, “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie”).  Holistic practitioners are the ones who are helping people with the basics of preventative care – the common sense choices that keep you out of the doctor’s office to begin with – and who are providing safe and effective treatments for acute and chronic injury or illness that address the cause of these health issues rather than just the symptoms.

The term “alternative” health care can be interchangeable with the term “traditional” health care since it also often utilizes either very little technology or innovative technology that is not harmful and non-invasive.  This type of care is relatively low-cost and has it’s roots in a holistic approach whose resurgence is part of a growing, thriving movement.  Holistic health care practitioners often serve a dual role as teachers, coaches, guides and even elders who provide age-old wisdom (the word “doctor” is from the Latin, docere “to teach”).  Ultimately though, each person must understand that the responsibility to maintain health and decide what healing method to use is theirs, not the healthcare practitioner’s.  Thus, the key is responsibility – being responsible for how you take care of your life and your self in that life.  If we all were to embrace this responsibility, poisonous drugs, poisonous “food”, poisonous “entertainment”, uninspiring jobs and lifeless relationships would all cease to exist and our lives would have a context for radiance and fulfillment.

Northern California may seem to be only one of a few havens for Holistic therapies, yet according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), millions of Americans are turning to what is called “complementary” and “alternative medicine” nationwide .  The term “alternative” may soon need to be changed however, since it’s estimated by NCCAM that more  than 36 percent of American adults use some form of alternative medicine and that this number is growing each year.  While it is common to find most holistic practitioners within solo practices or working in alternative clinical settings, the number of hospitals and “mainstream” clinics that are including it – and insurance plans covering it – is also steadily growing.

The next step in the evolution of the American healthcare system may well be a new form of hospital – one that treats the whole person:  Mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. What a concept!   It is known as Holistic Healing.

[Note:  Since the article, from which the adaptation is taken, was written, “Obama Care” has risen on the horizon as the US  version of a National Health Care System.  It appears that the intent of this system is to equally cover the cost of care from a Holistic Physician as from an Alopathic Physician .  We shall see if this comes to fruition.]

– Adapted in 2012 from a Good Times article by Chandler Harris, 17 December 2007.  Thanks, Chandler!