Many people are increasingly searching for treatments outside of the mainstream to solve their health issues. Access to the internet has given people the chance to find remedies and schools of healing that are free from many of the negative side effects so common to mainstream medicine. Two of the most effective types of treatment are holistic medicine and chiropractry. Due to the fact that these methods of treatment are often largely ignored by the mainstream many people are confused about what exactly they are and if there is any crossover between the two.
What is a chiropractor and what is a holistic doctor?
A chiropractor is a health professional who is skilled in the techniques of chiropractry. The literal meaning of the term is ‘to perform with the hands’ and in the minds of many a chiropractor is someone who manipulates the spine and surrounding muscles in order to produce health benefits. But there is far more to a chiropractor’s work than simple spinal manipulation. There are many different approaches taken by chiropractors and these can involve a wide range of treatments including those drawn from the disciplines of physical therapy, holistic healing and massage. Just as there are many types of doctor, there are many types of chiropractor.
Holistic medicine is a form of healing that focuses on the entire human being rather than narrowly on a specific ailment. Modern Western medicine is often criticized for narrowly seeking to cure a particular problem at the expense of wider wellness. For example, some treatments, such as painkillers, are effective at achieving their narrow purpose but may lead to severe side effects. A holistic doctor is a subscriber to the holistic view of health and is one who feels that it is impossible to separate physical ailments from mental and spiritual maladies. Holistic doctors seek to treat the entire patient as an interconnected and interdependent entity rather than a system consisting of separate components.
Many people are unfamiliar with the work of chiropractors and holistic doctors and therefore question whether the two are one and the same. There are such things as holistic chiropractors, but this does not mean that all chiropractors are holistic doctors, nor does it mean that any holistic doctors practice chiropractic methods.
How can you tell if a chiropractor is holistic?
“If a chiropractor takes the approach that their patient must be treated as an entire whole then they are practicing a form of holistic medicine.” Says Dr. Lee, owner of Riverside Family Chiropractic
Traditional chiropractry treatments such as spinal manipulation also tie in with a holistic view of medicine. Through the manipulation of the spinal column chiropractors are able to treat a diverse range of conditions such as neck pain, asthma, headaches and more. This is achieved through recognition of the fact that the body is interconnected. This can even be proved on a scientific level through the fact that nerve endings travel up and down the spine which send sensory messages from the brain, throughout the body, and back again.
One of the main treatments employed by a chiropractor is spinal manipulative therapy. This is the process by which spinal joints are manipulated with various motions, forces and pressures in order to extend them beyond their normal range of motion, but not to an extent which is dangerous. This can be achieved through the gradual application of pressure or more sudden, forceful movements. This has the eventual outcome of relieving pain throughout the body and providing a greater ultimate range of motion than the patient initially experienced.
Two of the most common and traditional problems treated by a chiropractor are neck and back pain. The link between the conditions and their treatment is obvious due to the fact that they are focused in the same physical area of the body. It is also possible for a chiropractor to improve a wide range of other problems as well. These include headaches, stress, soreness, insomnia and many others. The way in which a chiropractor is able to treat these concerns ties in with the holistic approach to medicine. The work of a chiropractor is proof that manipulating one area of the body can have significant positive impact on other areas.
A chiropractor who practices their work as a form of holistic medicine is often keen to incorporate aspects of disciplines other than traditional chiropractry into their work. These are commonly drawn from areas such as massage therapy, physio therapy, yoga, meditation and other more esoteric spiritual practices. The way in which these work are due to the fact that the human body is in fact a holistic system. When a person experiences the relief of stress through any method whatsoever their body is more receptive to healing in the physical sense conferred by chiropractry. A true holistic doctor skilled in the practice of chiropractry will not draw a distinction between different schools of treatment but will instead view them as interconnected tools forming a total system of care and healing.
How do you find a quality holistic chiropractor?
It is important to ask the right questions of a potential chiropractor in order to ensure they have the right outlook on holistic health. Asking whether they practice any techniques aside from traditional chiropractry will indicate the extent to which they are willing to view a patient holistically. Just because a chiropractor has a holistic outlook it does not automatically make them the right choice of healer for a certain situation. It is important to ask whether the chiropractor has specific experience and skill in helping the health condition at hand. Chiropractors with both experience and a holistic outlook are the ideal choice.
The body, mind and spirit are not separate, rather they are totally interconnected. It is therefore vital to find a doctor that appreciates and understands this interwoven system we call the human body. This will lead to the best possible health benefits for the patient.