Family medicine may be concerned with males and females of all ages, and it may cover nearly all organ systems and related diseases. Along with physical health, a holistic family medicine doctor will also keep in mind the patient’s spiritual, mental and social wellness. Care may focus on prevention, with patients maintaining the primary responsibility for their health. This type of medicine may emphasize social support systems and positive emotions.
In this type of medicinal practice, doctors and patients usually work as partners, and the quality of their relationships may affect patients’ health. Rather than focusing on treating symptoms, doctors and patients may seek the causes of disease, and work to eliminate them. Holistic family medicine doctors may be expected to serve as examples for their patients by improving their own wellness using holistic health principles.
In holistic family medicine, disease prevention may be emphasized. People usually have natural healing abilities, which can be nurtured. Nutrition, stress reduction, adequate rest and exercise will all be emphasized as methods of health promotion. In addition, safe and effective complementary medicine may be prescribed, along with conventional treatments, such as prescription drugs and surgery.
A strong sense of community and meaningful spiritual practices can also help patients optimize their wellness. Holistic family doctors may encourage patients to develop these aspects, and draw upon them as needed. The environment is also an essential consideration in the practice of holistic family medicine. A healthy environment can often lead to healthier people.
Holistic family medicine takes a widely different view of illness than traditional Western medicine does. Illness isn’t necessarily thought of as just an enemy to overcome. It may instead be looked on as an opportunity for patients to learn about themselves and to grow.
This type of practice seeks to diminish feelings patients may have of being reduced to diseases. Though a patient may have a specific physical illness, he may have other strengths, and he may be healthy in other ways. For an example, a critically ill person may have strong family support, and a strong spiritual practice. Though he is physically ill, other aspects of his being are healthy. These aspects may serve to improve the patient’s physical health.
Love may be considered an important emotion that may help heal all aspects of the patient. All helpful emotions, such as love, humor and hope are encouraged. Negative emotions, on the other hand, may have harmful effects, and should be released as much as possible.