Holistic Medicine 101: Body and Mind Health For Older Adults


Holistic medicine practitioners believe that all parts of you work together: mind, body, and even spirit. If one part if not well, it can impact the other parts as well. The goal of all types of holistic medicine is to consider not just your body, but also your mind in your treatment plan.

In the past, holistic medicine was considered to be unreliable, but evidence for its efficacy is growing. From the increasing confirmation of the importance of nutrition, to the proven connection between stress and disease, the benefits of holistic medicine treatments are being viewed with new legitimacy. These treatments are gaining in popularity, including among older adults. Could one of these help you?

What Type of Holistic Medicine Should You Consider?

What type of holistic medicine can help you? Finding a provider is confusing as there are many different activities and types of treatment that fall under this category. Working on your body, mind, and even the food you eat is all considered holistic medicine. From acupuncture to zinc supplements, the options are numerous. Here are our experts’ tips on how to get started.

Sherri-McKnightSherri McKnight, HD, who runs Clarity Homeopathy, earned her degree in Homeopathic Medicine, Health Sciences and Nutrition from the Canadian College of Homeopathic Medicine, the only college in Canada accredited by the Council for Homeopathic Medicine. In her years of private practice, she specializes in treating both women and men, and offers hormone, vitamin, food, and environmental laboratory testing.

Holistic medicine and treatment is a form of healing that treats the whole person – body, mind and emotions – to gain optimal health and proper balance in life. Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness is of utmost importance. Treatment plans may include diet, exercise, lifestyle counselling, etc. All tailored to suit your own, unique, individual needs.

In my clinic I treat both acute and chronic conditions, including pain management. A comprehensive assessment during the initial appointment allows for an in-depth health history intake to insure that any possible contraindications with any prescription medications, if any are had, are avoided. The medicines used give quick results and are safe and gentle, without side effects.

Dr.-Kelly-LivingstoneDr. Kelly Livingston is a licensed Naturopathic Physician. After completing her undergraduate studies at Columbia University, she attended medical school at the University of Bridgeport. She is the founder of Roots Deep Medicine, where she provides natures health care for the entire family in Stamford, CT. Here is her advice for getting started on finding a holistic health care provider that can help you.

There are many types of alternative medicine. It can be difficult to choose! As a licensed Naturopathic Physician, I can offer my patients a wealth of information on all of their options. I also refer to chiropractors, acupuncturists, and integrative medical doctors on a regular basis.

The best place to start would be with an alternative health care practitioner you know and trust, or one recommended by a family member you trust. In this state NDs, LACs, DCs (naturopaths, acupuncturists, and chiropractors) have undergone extensive training, board examinations, and received licenses to practice medicine. Therefore, they can be a great place to start. There are also other alternative practitioners such as Reiki healers, Herbalists, etc that you may find you can benefit from

Holistic Medicine as a Part of Your Health Care Team

If you are already receiving treatment from your primary care physician, or other specialists, where does holistic medicine fit in? Many seniors have a complex health history – how can you prevent any conflicts or problems, and get the maximum benefit from both types of providers?

Peter-BedardHaving personally suffered from illnesses ranging from chronic anxiety to arthritis, asthma, fibromyalgia, depression, sciatica, Peter Bedard now uses his MA in Consciousness Studies and extensive training in Hypnotherapy to help thousands of people heal. He advises holistic medicine as a part of your overall medical treatment.

I’m a big fan of combining allopathic (Western) medicine and holistic medicine. I often use the tools of allopathic medicine like blood tests and x-rays to diagnose a problem and then I bring those results to my holistic healers. The healing solutions from holistic practitioners often have no side effects so I actually worry less.

If I’m using an herbal supplement then I always make sure that there is no problematic interaction between that herb and the pharmaceutical drug that may be in my system.Before beginning any treatment always look at the side effects and problems that may result from the treatment. I find this actually more important in the allopathic world as many doctors don’t know how a particular drug they are prescribing can cause severe addiction, kidney, liver, or emotional problems.

Dr.-Jolene-BrightenDr. Jolene Brighten earned her doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the National College of Natural Medicine. She completed her BS in Nutrition Science, and graduate coursework in molecular nutrition at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Dr. Brighten has extensive training in Integrative Women’s Health and autoimmune disease management, including a personal interest in Hashimoto’s thyroid disorder. She describes how she begins her treatment, and where it fits in with other providers.

When it comes to aches and pains specifically, we would start with a comprehensive intake process and a physical exam to try and figure out where in the body the pain is rooted. From there, we can begin to make small changes that can make a big difference.

The safety and efficacy of natural medicine and holistic health practices are time-tested and are becoming more and more representing in the mainstream media as well as in the laboratory. A qualified holistic care practitioner may also be able to refer you to complimentary therapies, such as acupuncture, water therapy, chiropractors, and more.

Many alternative health practitioners work in tandem with your primary care physician and other health practitioners to ensure that therapies are safe and will not interfere with your current medications and treatment.

How To Find The Right Provider – And Get Your Questions Answered

We have all enjoyed the experience of being helped by a health care provider that we truly loved. How do you find a qualified holistic medicine provider that you will enjoy a long, successful, and enjoyable relationship with?

Peter Bedard offers his personal experience with finding holistic help.

When I first started looking into holistic therapies for myself I strictly used the word-of-mouth approach. A friend would tell me about an amazing experience they had with a healer and so I went to that healer. Now, I do a little more research. There are so many resources out there.

In creating your healing I encourage you to do multiple therapies at the same time. Do body work of some sort (acupuncture, massage, Rolfing, pilates, etc.) and combine that with a mental activity (our thinking greatly influences our health and when we can shift our thoughts in a different direction away from the pain it literally sends different signals to our bodies) like taking a new class or reading or meditation work, and always engage in some sort of practice that lifts your spirits (maybe dance, hug a tree, climb a mountain, or sit in the grass, etc.). If it feels good and is in alignment with your happiness then go for it!

Sherri McKnight, HD advises that seniors take a few minutes to prepare for interviewing any new providers.

As when choosing any healthcare provider, contact the practitioners you are considering by phone or in person. Have your list of questions prepared so you can have all the answers to what is most important to you to help with making your decision. Practitioners may also have a website or a brochure that can hold a wealth of information.

Have you found a helpful provider, but find that your friends or family are skeptical? Dr. Jolene Brighten offers her advice for dealing with objections from your loved ones.

Many people are skeptical of what they know nothing about. If you’ve done your research and are confident that a holistic practitioner is the right decision for you, educate your friends and family by telling them about what you’ve learned. Sometimes the best way to “tell” your friends and family how good you feel is by showing them.

Health and vitality shine through us so much that sometimes, we don’t have to say a word! If friends and family are still concerned and you feel comfortable, consider bringing them to an appointment with you. Again, many alternative health practitioners work in tandem with your primary care physician and other health practitioners to ensure that therapies are safe and will not interfere with your current medications and treatment.

Dr. Kelly Livingston offers her tips for finding a competent provider of holistic medicine – and it’s not only about degrees!

A well-trained and competent practitioner will be able to answer questions about their education, training, and experience for you. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable, respected, and well taken care of!

Medicine For Your Body, Mind, And Spirit

Holistic medicine employs tool that are both ancient and modern, and often encourages the patient to take an active role in decisions that impact their health. If you are looking to explore the connection between your body and mind, exploring holistic medicine can be a great way to learn more about yourself, and the health care options available to you.



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