How to create thriving health
By Elizabeth Devereux
Holistic health is a view in medical practice that includes all aspects of a person’s life—physical, emotional, mental, social/lifestyle and spiritual – and considers each as it contributes to the overall quality of an individual’s health. From a holistic perspective, the patient is seen as a whole, and disease is viewed through mind-body-spirit-lifestyle balance or imbalance.
One might wonder, what is the difference between holistic health and complementary and alternative medicine? Complementary and Alternative Medicine—CAM—is an increasingly popular label for holistic health and wellness therapies that have not typically been used in conventional Western medicine.
Complementary applies to therapies used in conjunction with conventional medicine. Alternative means therapies used instead of conventional medicine.
CAM whole-self practices and modalities used as medicine include:
- yoga and meditation
- acupuncture, homeopathy, cranial touch
- massage therapy, chiropractic care, osteopathy
- whole food nutrition
- use of herbs and dietary supplements
- vibrational and energy medicine techniques
The new normal
Most CAM studies in the U.S. show few patients forgo conventional medicine completely; most use integrative medicine, another term becoming widely known. Integrative medicine incorporates the best of conventional medical care with the best of evidence-based holistic therapies.
To illustrate how CAM/integrative medicine is becoming an integral part of the mainstream medical model, for more than 10 years, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has been offering a Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program. Cleveland Clinic has a Center for Integrative Medicine; and Duke Integrative Medicine calls itself “a portal to the vast spectrum of scientific advances … an open door to your innate healing power.” Johns Hopkins, a stronghold in mainstream medicine, joined the holistic trend in 2007 by opening its Alternative Medicine Center. In 2013, MD Anderson will be hosting the first Annual Integrative Oncology Healthcare Professional Training Conference.
These programs are responding to patients’ growing demands for holistic wellness-promoting treatments and activities that have not typically been part of conventional medical care. These complementary therapies can optimize a patient’s healing potential, manage symptoms and markedly improve overall quality of life.
|Big Canoe resident Sara Lindkrantz uses an integrated approach to treat her medical issues. Photo by Elizabeth Devereux|
Our own backyard
Big Canoe neighbor, Sara Lindkrantz, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Although she has been practicing yoga for several years and, more recently, mindfulness meditation, Lindkrantz was skeptical of other holistic treatments. It was her third diagnosis of cancer and living with the fear of a recurrence for the last 20 years that prompted her to make some changes in her healthcare approach.
This fall, Lindkrantz began a comprehensive program of whole-self care that includes a broad use of whole-self practices and modalities. The benefits to her mind-body-spirit have been so marked, she now views this integrated approach as a critically important complement to her ongoing traditional treatments. Not only has her pain disappeared, but her medical test results continue to show no advance of the cancer.
“I’m thriving, and believe it or not, living quite happily with my cancer now. I am no longer driven by fear and dread of the future. I live everyday with a new sense of ease, joy and possibility,” said Lindkrantz.
The next monthly installment of this column will provide insight into the integrative practices Lindkrantz has added to her life and will explore the wide variety of CAM solutions she is using and are being embraced by prestigious medical institutions in the U.S. and around the world.
Elizabeth Devereux has been teaching yoga and meditation for 17 years and has been actively working in the holistic wellness field for 23 years. She teaches at the Fitness Center and has a private integrative healing practice in Big Canoe. More information can be found at peaceonearthinc.com/my-story.html. Devereux will be at the Aging Well Trade Show, March 9.