By Kathleen Mulroy

More and more people are relying on holistic health and wellness practices. Still, many skeptics prefer traditional Western medicine to treat their physical and mental illnesses.

I will admit that I was one of the scoffers until I began to see the benefits of some holistic health practices for myself.

Practitioners and supporters of holistic health and wellbeing believe that these imbalances can negatively affect the overall health of the person when someone has imbalances in body, mind, or spirit. It is important to investigate the causes of a disease rather than just stopping or minimizing the symptoms.

First, a doctor analyzes all aspects of a patient’s life and uses a variety of medical and psychological therapies to treat the physical or emotional illness.

Acupuncture is an alternative therapy that used to be considered dubious but is now widely accepted in the Western medical community. I admit I find it hard to believe – despite the growing evidence – that sticking needles into my body could potentially help.
However, after months of elbow pain caused by repetitive motion, I had exhausted regular medical options. A friend recommended I try acupuncture, and I reluctantly agreed.

After three treatments with a certified acupuncturist, my pain was greatly reduced. Now i am a believer!

Several holistic practices for health and wellbeing are also used in psychology and counseling. I’d never taken stock of much, but a few years ago my Idaho therapist suggested trying something called EFT for previous trauma. I decided it might be worth exploring.

Compensate for disturbed energy
EFT tapping is an alternative acupressure therapy used to rebalance a person’s “disturbed energy”. It’s a licensed treatment for war veterans with PTSD and has shown some benefits in treating anxiety, depression, physical pain, and insomnia. Of course, it might not help everyone, but I think it was useful for me.

Holistic health practitioners can include osteopathic doctors, naturopathic and homeopathic doctors, and chiropractors. Even doctors sometimes suggest holistic practices for their patients. These can be massages, acupuncture, nutritional advice, and special exercises. Psychotherapy, relationship, or spiritual counseling can also be recommended.

The Full Circle Natural Medical Clinic in Missoula, Mont., Offers a holistic treatment area called “Regenerative Medicine” that rejuvenates “body function and tissues” through injections of a variety of hormones and natural substances. Blue Heron Holistic Health in Boise, Idaho, takes a different approach, using astrology, Chinese medicine, and detox teas, among others, to improve customer health and wellbeing.

Life evaluations
Some gerontologists and other doctors use holistic health and wellbeing aspects when looking for treatment options for illnesses and disabilities in older adults. Because a gerontologist’s goal is to keep seniors active, healthy, happy, and engaged in their community for as long as possible, some practitioners do not want to rule out potentially beneficial alternative therapies. They can ask the patient to conduct a holistic quality of life assessment, which can be an important aspect of elderly care management.
This assessment looks at the elderly patient’s overall function, living situation, social support, and various aspects of health, needs and desires. It can help a doctor work with a patient to improve wellbeing, productivity, and the quality of everyday physical, emotional, and spiritual experiences.

Other assessment tools may include written and oral surveys or questionnaires, self-reporting and journaling.

Find holistic practitioners
If you are looking for a holistic doctor in your area, you can visit the American Holistic Medical Association website ( The AHMA suggests that you also get a referral from someone you trust or contact a credible health organization and seek a referral. You should also find out as much as you can about the practitioner’s education, experience, areas of expertise, licenses, and the practitioner’s association with professional associations and hospitals.

If you are a South Idahoan, you can read the Idaho Health & Wellness Directory for Practitioners. If you live in Montana there is a website for the Montana Association of Naturopathic Physicians;

I suggest that you want to be open to alternative medical and spiritual practices. As I have learned on a personal level, adding holistic health and wellbeing to the traditional Western medical treatment you are receiving might be the right approach. ISI

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