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What Makes Holistic Doctors Different?

Holistic doctors have a distinctly different approach to health and medicine when compared to conventional doctors. But what exactly makes holistic doctors different? We explain some of the most important aspects of a holistic physicians practice of medicine. 

Here are the three main topics:

  • Top-down approach versus bottom-up approach.
  • Least invasive most effective treatment.
  • Partnership in health | A balance between doctor and patient input.


holistic doctorsTop-down approach versus bottom-up approach

Top-down verses bottom up refers to the model the doctor uses to diagnose and treat. A top-down approach looks very closely at the person and frames the symptom or condition in the context of the whole person. A bottom-up approach looks very closely at the symptoms or condition and later looks at the person. The result of such different approaches is quite obvious. Looking at symptom or condition rather than the person does not allow the doctor to tailor treatment to the person. They may also miss or overlook important aspects of a person's condition by not fully looking at how it is manifesting in them. With a top-down approach holistic doctors look more at the person with the symptom or condition rather than the symptom or condition itself. 


Least invasive most effective treatment

Treatment for health conditions need not be invasive and destructive to other areas of your body. Holistic doctors know and practice this. In western science we compartmentalize the systems of the body to better understand their functions. Yet each system is not separate from the other systems of the body. They all work together and depend on one anther to function at full capacity.


A good analogy for this is how a team functions in a cohesive unit. When one team member is weak or not functioning properly the others have to compensate for it. The same is true for your body. When one organ system is not functioning properly the others suffer and have to compensate for it. For instance if your digestion is not functioning well, the rest of the body will suffer from lack of nutrients. When medications are given with the intention to improve function in one system, it is important to understand the effects in other systems. If there are treatment options that arrive at the same health improvement effect yet don't have negative effects on other parts of the body, that is the treatment you want. Sometime this is not possible even with holistic medical approaches. Your holistic doctor might give you a medicine that can cause problems to other areas of your body and therefore give you something in conjunction with it. Antibiotics and probiotics are a good example of this. 


Partnership in health | A balance between doctor and patient input.

What we mean by partnership in health is that the patients symptoms and concerns have equal merit to the objective findings observed by the holistic doctors.  Typically in western medicine, objective findings (what the doctor can see, touch, feel, etc. ) are weighted with much more weight than the subjective findings (what you feel or experience). In this way, patients are often told there is nothing wrong with them because their is no observable findings on physical exam, x-ray, or lab reports. However, lack of objective findings does not mean there is nothing wrong. If you are experiencing a symptom and told "nothing is wrong" it could be the doctor is not looking in the right place. 

As an example sometimes people experience symptoms before an actual disease or dysfunction manifests on physical exam or lab reports. Most holistic medical doctors recognize the need to take their patients symptoms with equal merit to the objective findings. To this end, they search harder to find the cause and utilize non-western medicine objective testing to diagnose and determine the source. When no disease or dysfunction is present, you can still treat the systems of the body that are out of balance with supportive treatments. 

Dr Christy Cline, a practicing naturopathic physician in Phoenix AZ, explains that acupuncture diagnostics can be a great tool to use in conjunction with western medicine. For example the tongue tells us about your digestion. When your tongue has lots of phlegm on it, there is a very good change you are not digesting your foods well. This can lead to fatigue, digestive system problems, and more.

To learn more about holistic medical or naturopathic medicine approaches, click on the link below for a free consultation with one of our naturopathic physicians

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