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Holistic practitioners include anyone who practices natural, alternative, integrative, or complementary medicine. These types of healers treat patients by looking at them as a whole, including the mind, body, and spirit. There are many different types of holistic practitioners, including ayurvedic and naturopathic doctors, herbalists, acupuncturists and body workers, and holistic dentists.
Instead of just treating a problem and its symptoms, holistic practitioners look to find the root of the problem. They believe that medicine is not just about curing the patient, but living a full, healthy, and optimal life. They help patients strive to live a more balanced life through the daily decisions they make.
An ayurvedic doctor is a type of holistic practitioner who completes consultations with patients to determine their dosha, or constitution. After completing the consultation, the doctor than prescribes various treatments, ranging from yoga poses to diet changes, meditation, and massage to alleviate any imbalance. A different type of holistic doctor, the naturopath, works to promote the body's natural ability to restore itself to balance by creating a healthy internal and external environment. They are trained in using prescriptions and other benefits of modern science, but prefer to utilize the most non-harmful means.
An herbalist specializes in handling herbs for medicinal purposes. These may include extracts, teas, and other plant products that are believed to promote healing and wellness. In China, herbalism is common and many individuals see an herbalist who has studied traditional Chinese medicine.
An acupuncturist uses fine needles inserted at specific points in the skin to relieve pain, unblock energy, or for other therapeutic purposes. Body workers include everyone from massage therapists to reflexologist and rolfers. Body workers heal using forms of touch, physical manipulation, and energetic work.
Holistic dentists look beyond a patient's oral health. They strive to include proper nutrition and eliminate toxins that come from dental procedures such as mercury and x-rays. Holistic dentists may also use acupuncture and applied kinesiology.
The use of holistic medicine increased significantly at the end of the 20th century as many patients began combining conventional medicine with holistic and alternative treatments. Although many of these holistic traditions have been around for thousands of years, some of the treatments and practices are considered controversial. There are many different types of holistic practices that have come from all over the globe, so the rules and regulations governing the practitioners varies greatly. Holistic practitioners can either be licensed or unlicensed, and as such it is important to do research before choosing a specific person to work with to ensure they are reputable and trustworthy.