How Can We Need A Holistic Approach?

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In America today we have experienced the greatest advances in the fields of medicine since the middle ages. Diseases such as polio, the bubonic plague, and small pox have virtually been eradicated. With the advances in the pharmaceutical industry, drugs are being manufactured that offer relief and hope to patients that once had no hope. However with all of these advances, we still have a ways to go. We are still trying to find cures for diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, diabetes and even cancer to name a few. So what can we do and how can we address these debilitating and often life threatening diseases? Are their possible cures and what measures do we need to take to get there? The answer, the missing component, is looking at each patient as a whole. While the medical community is gradually becoming aware that maybe the patient needs to be evaluated on more than a physical level, they are still slow to adopt a holistic approach. So what is this holistic approach that that we are referring to? A holistic approach refers to treatments or therapies that utilize conventional and non-conventional medical practices. Non-conventional medical practices or therapies are referred to as CAM. CAM stands for complementary and alternative medicine. You may also hear terms such as integrative medicine (IM), alternative medicine (AM), and alternative therapy (AT). All of these terms and acronyms virtually mean the same thing. According to Pan et al. (2012) CAM is: A comprehensive practice that encompasses all traditional and folk medicines as well as a variety of non-CM therapies. Generally, CAM therapy is closer to nature, cheaper, and less invasive than conventional medicine. CAM encompasses any healing practice ... ... middle of paper ... would be the individual’s belief about the disease that has been influenced by the thoughts and perceptions of their environment. In general, if someone was raised in an environment where it was believed that if you get cancer you will die, the patient will internalize those feelings and beliefs and prepare for death. However, on the other hand if someone grew up with someone that was diagnosed with cancer and survived, this patient would exhibit a more positive outlook and approach to the diagnosis of cancer. This can also be evaluated on a cultural level as well. In America we have the belief that doctors and pharmaceutical medications will cure everything. This thought process leads us to have more faith in the abilities of medical procedures and practices. The placebo effect is an excellent example of the lower quadrants (Astin, J. and Astin, A., 2002).

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