A lot of people are turning towards a holistic health approach for their health care needs today because of the rising costs and dangerous side effects of traditional medicine and synthetic drugs.

Our health care system is failing us in many ways and it seems one of the best ways to address this problem is by taking matters into our own hands, but that isn't always easy and can sometimes be frightening. It can be hard to get past the skepticism of those around us.

Traditional medicine doesn't embrace holistic or alternative health remedies because they claim there aren't enough scientific studies to support it, but the truth is they don't support research in these areas because they can make more money on patented drugs and they don't want to cure health problems because if they did they couldn't make anymore money by selling their drugs.

Holistic medicine looks at the underlying cause of a disease or health condition and attempts to correct it, instead of just treating symptoms. It is an individualized whole body approach that may incorporate many different modalities into it's treatment plan. These modalities may include herbal remedies, massage, detoxing the body, nutritional supplementation, changes in diet and lifestyle, cleaning up your environment, meditation, exercise, colon cleansing, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, yoga, chiropractic adjustments to name only a few.

Anytime you bring up natural, alternative or holistic health issues you can always find a handful of people who will say it's voodoo or quackery. They may claim they tried several alternative methods and they were worthless or they experienced some negative side effects.

However, it's important to keep in mind that if you ask another group of people about their experiences with a specific prescription drug that you will find that many of them did not have relief or success as well and they are likely to have a lot more side effects. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from negative reactions to prescriptions drugs. It is rare that people die from holistic health methods.

That's because everyone's body and disease process is different and each person may respond to a particular treatment in a different manner, whether it is through traditional or alternative methods. What works great for one person, may not work at all for another person and vice versa. A particular prescription drug or herbal remedy can bring about completely different results in different people, depending on many different factors.

The benefit of a holistic health approach is that they are aware of this issue and will work with each individual to understand their unique needs, make adjustments, try different methods and develop a treatment plan that will work for them. While traditional medicine usually has only one course of action and that usually involves drugs or surgery.

It's also important to note that many holistic health treatment plans use remedies and procedures that have been used successfully for many centuries and that almost all synthetic pharmaceuticals on the market today are based on a particular herb or natural plant substance. Take aspirin for example, it originated from an herb called white willow bark, or digitalis the popular heart medication was derived from an ingredient found in the herb foxglove.

Another crucial point to keep in mind is that just because something is natural does not mean it comes completely without risk or side effects. Herbs and other alternative health methods can be very powerful and must be taken or performed as prescribed. A good degree of learning and education is necessary to make sure you don't achieve results that are undesired.

For example, the herb Lobelia when taken in correct dosages is great for soothing the nervous system, however if you take too much you may find yourself throwing up. Herbs can also have interactions with prescription drugs or reduce their effectiveness. You should always talk with a holistic doctor before medicating yourself and disclose all medical conditions and prescriptions you may be taking.

It can be very hard for people to break free from the medical conditioning that is pounded in our head and believe that drugs and surgery are not always the best path. Many alternative health approaches seem foreign and sound strange.

Embracing an alternative or holistic health approach will require an open mind, a hunger for truth, a sincere desire to learn, the willingness to take risks and try new avenues and the ability to listen to your higher consciousness and stand strong in the face of skepticism.

Author's Bio: 

Cynthia Perkins, M.Ed. is an author and holistic health counselor helping individuals living with chronic illness or chronic pain to live life more fully. Visit her site for more
holistic health care tips, techniques and strategies.