What’s the Difference between Holistic Healing and Western Medicine?

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Holistic vs Western Medicine

Despite the progress made in eradicating various life-threatening disease; when it comes to the method of treatment, the debate between holistic and western medicine takes center stage. To seek a healthier lifestyle more than 59 million Americans have used alternative medicine which has resulted in a total spending of over $33.9 billion per year. Despite the increase in people seeking holistic approaches, the differences between these two types of medicine are based on diagnostic techniques, treatment preferences and the philosophical views of an individual.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatment using western medicine is based on scientific principles which include research and approved methodologies that are specifically designed to diagnose, treat and prevent adverse health conditions by eradicating symptoms. On the other hand, holistic treatment is based on the belief that diseases occur when there’s an imbalance in the physical, spiritual and emotional parts. Healers then use diagnosis and treatment approaches that include self-care and educating on lifestyle changes. Instead of treating symptoms, holistic approach deals with the underlying cause.

Causes and Effects

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In Western medicine, physicians provide treatment with the basis that diseases are caused by infectious microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or a defect in the genes. In holistic healing, an individual’s lifestyle choices determine their well-being.Therefore, the patient is empowered to take responsibility for their health. To ensure you have the best health care options, consult an experienced physician who will provide the needed medical assistance.

Personal Attention

For western treatments, some physicians are paid depending on the number of patients they serve. This results in spending less time with the patients. The philosophy of holistic healing places greater emphasis on the quality relationship between the practitioner and patient which helps in the pursuit of optimal health.

Payment and Insurance Coverage

Most insurance will be willing to cover you when you opt for western medicine, but will be reluctant when it comes to holistic healing. Patients that seek holistic treatment end up paying cash on a case to case basis which can be disadvantageous when you have an emergency treatment but are low in cash. Health insurers can deny you coverage if the alternative treatment has inadequate evidence of effectiveness and safety.

Ultimately, the choice on which medicine to go for depends on your philosophical beliefs and personal attitudes about health. Before trying out any treatment, do research and consult a certified practitioner who will advise you on the best health care options.


Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn't on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Rachelle recommends Rural Health Services Consortium Inc., for those interested in primary care. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook: @RachelleWilber; https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009221637700


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