Holistic medicine (Encyclopedia Britannica 2004)
Holistic medicine is a doctrine of preventive and therapeutic medicine that emphasizes the necessity of looking at
the whole person—his body, mind, emotions, and environment—rather than at an isolated function or organ and which
promotes the use of a wide range of health practices and therapies. It has especially come to stress responsibility for “self-healing,”
or “self-care,” by observing the traditional commonsense essentials of exercise, healthful diet, adequate sleep,
good air, moderation in personal habits, and so forth.
The term holistic medicine became especially fashionable in the late 20th century (the International Association of
Holistic Health Practitioners was founded in 1970, assuming its current holistic name in 1981). In its underlying philosophy,
in emphasizing the provision of whole care to a person or patient, holistic medicine is not new, being inseparable from any
traditional health care of good quality. Holistic medicine in extreme instances, however, has tended to equate the validity
of a wide range of schools or approaches to health care, not all of them compatible and some of them competitive, some scientific
and some unscientific. Although mainstream Western medical practices are not ignored, they are seen as only one part of the
available therapies and by no means the only effective ones. Congresses and conferences on holistic health have thus drawn
notonly representatives of medical schools and institutions but also advocates of such widely varying concepts as acupuncture,
alternative childbirth, astrology, biofeedback, chiropractic, faith healing, graphology, homeopathy, macrobiotics, megavitamintherapy,
naturopathy, numerology, nutrition, osteopathy, psychocalisthenics, psychotherapy, self-massage, shiatsu (or acupressure),
touch encounter, and yoga.
Homeopathy (Encyclopedia Britannica 2004)
Homoeopathy, a system of therapeutics, notably popular in the 19th century, which was founded on the stated principle
that “like cures like,” similia similibus curantur, and which prescribed for patients drugs or other treatments
that would produce in healthy persons symptoms of the diseases being treated.
This system of therapeutics based upon the “law of similars” was introduced in 1796 by the German physician
Samuel Hahnemann (q.v.). He claimed that a large dose of quinine, which had been widely used for the successful treatment
of malaria, produced in him effects similar to the symptoms of malaria patients. He thus concluded that all diseases were
best treated by drugs that produced in healthy persons effects similar to the symptoms of those diseases. He also undertook
experiments with a variety of drugs in an effort to prove this. Hahnemann believed that large doses of drugs aggravate illness
and that the efficacy of medicines thus increases with dilution. Accordingly, most homeopathists believed in the action of
minute doses of medicine.
To many patients and some physicians, homeopathy was a mild, welcome alternative to bleeding, purging, polypharmacy,
and other heavy-handed therapies of the day. In the 20th century, however, homeopathy has been viewed with little favour and
has been criticized for focusing on the symptoms rather than on the underlying causes of disease. Homeopathy still has some
adherents, and there are a number of national and international societies, including the International Homoeopathic Medical
League, headquartered in Bloemendaal, Neth.
Osteopathy (Encyclopedia Britannica 2004)
Osteopathy is a health care profession that emphasizes the relationship between the musculoskeletal structure and organ
function. Osteopathic physicians develop skill in recognizing and correcting structural problems through manipulative therapy
and other treatments.
Osteopathic medicine began in the United States in the 19th century as a reform movement against
the then rather primitive armamentarium of drugs and surgical techniques. The founder, Andrew Taylor Still, developed a system
of osteopathic medicine in reaction to the conditions and types of treatment that he observed while serving as an army physician
during the American Civil War.
After failing to persuade various medical schools to incorporate his ideas into their teachings, Still established
a new medical school in 1892 in Kirksville, Mo.,
where he began conferring the doctor of osteopathy degree (D.O.) upon those physicians who adhered to his concepts of medicine.
Still's emphasis on treating the whole man has remained an ideal of the profession.
Osteopathic medicine still has its main base in the United States.
Canadian osteopathic physicians have received their training in the United States,
and osteopathic medicine in the British Isles is in part a form of postgraduate specialization
by holders of the M.D. degree. Most osteopathic physicians who practice elsewhere in the world have also been trained in the
General osteopathic hospitals provide health care of all kinds, and specialty-oriented hospitals include maternity
centres, proctology clinics, arthritis centres, emergency clinics, and alcoholism and drug-abuse centres. In the United States, osteopathic institutions are accredited by
the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and most are members of the American Osteopathic Hospital Association.
Professional education leading to the degree of doctor of osteopathy is similar to that for doctors of medicine. The
four years ofosteopathic medical education cover the basic sciences and clinical work, with emphasis on the importance of
body mechanics and the relationship of body structure to function.
In Great Britain there are two
schools of osteopathic medicine. Entrants to the British School of Osteopathy require only a secondary-school education, and their four-year
course is limited to manipulative therapy and diagnosis. Upon graduation, their practice is limited to these areas. The London
College of Osteopathy limits its entrants to those who possess the M.D. degree, and the 14-month course is meant to be a postgraduate
training that stresses the musculoskeletal system and manipulative therapy. Graduates are accepted into the British system
of socialized medicine and have unlimited practice rights.
Osteopathic physicians are licensed to practice medicine in all states of the United States and have the same professional rights and responsibilities as do
holders of the M.D. degree in most states. In most cases, physicians of both schools of medical practicetake their examinations
before a medical licensing board composed of both doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy. In other countries, regulation
of the practice of osteopathy varies greatly.
Osteopathic research studies include anatomy and function of nerve-and-muscle junctions, transmission of nervous impulses,
somatic reflex functions, renal (kidney) growth and function, and blood-flow dynamics. There are also clinical studies of
structural findings in hospitalized patients, the effects of manipulation under anesthesia for specific orthopedic problems,
the effect of osteopathic manipulation on hypertension, and management of chronic obstructive lung disease by regular medical
means, with and without osteopathic manipulation.
Chiropractic is a system of healing based on the theory that disease in the human body results from a lack of normal
nerve function. Chiropractors employ treatment by manipulation and specific adjustment of body structures, such as the spinal
column, and use physical therapy when necessary. Chiropractors thus are concerned with the relationship between the musculoskeletal
structures and functions of the body and the nervous system in the restoration and maintenance of health. The chiropractic
method was founded in 1895 by an Iowa merchant, D.D. Palmer,
who reportedly cured deafness in one individual by realigning a misaligned vertebrae. Doctors of chiropractic are trained
in and through accredited chiropractic colleges. Procedures include the adjustment and manipulation of the articulations and
adjacent tissues of the human body, particularly of the spinal column, and sometimes related therapies such as heat therapy,
traction, and nutrition counseling.