What is holistic, really?

I have been approaching my practice and life from a holistic perspective for about 20 years. This has been a process. I did not wake up one morning or read a book and decide to be holistic. I did, however, grasp the concept and I have been striving to achieve it ever since. I want to explore the real meaning of holistic in the next several posts.

I got the concept the first time I heard Dr. Ed Schaefer talk about the 3 things a healer can do when presented with a symptom. All treatments fall into one of these categories. You can:

1. Cure – The symptom disappears and the animal is at least as healthy or more healthy than before the symptom was treated.

2. Palliate – The symptom disappears or lessens as long as treatment is continued but returns if treatment stops and may require increasing dosages or frequency of dosage to be controlled.

3. Suppress – The symptom disappears but the patient is less healthy than before the symptom was treated.

Lets look at some actual cases.

Cure – This is what I always strive for but unfortunately it does not always happen. I have been working with my friend’s horse, Kate, for many years to help cure her from the chronic symptom of udder swelling. Kate is basically very healthy but I know her swelling is a symptom that is related to chronic disease. I have tried homeopathy, acupressure, network chiropractic, osteopathy and chinese herbs. I had only succeeded in palliating her symptoms until recently.

Kate contracted a bacterial respiratory infection and we upped her nutritional support to help her fight it. She recovered from the infection but suddenly showed major swelling of her udder with inflammation and fever. Before, her udder swelling had always been mild with no heat or pain. With these more clear symptoms I prescribed the homeopathic remedy, rhus tox.

After 3 doses of rhus tox, Kate’s udder swelling, fever and pain became much less. After 3 days she was completely well and there was not sign of the chronic swelling. Her owner, Rita, continues to report that Kate is happier and moving the best she ever has. Based on this response I consider rhus tox to have been a curative treatment.

Drugs rarely if ever cure. Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, and osteopathy have the potential to balance the body and bring about cure. Whole food nutrition can cure because many chronic horse diseases are there because of inadequate nutrition or the inability for the horse’s body to assimilate foods. Probiotics can cure because by bringing healthy bacteria into the gut, foods can be properly digested. Large amounts of probiotics should not be needed on a regular basis unless the horse is under continual stress. Probiotics have no side effects and do not cause any imbalances so their regular use as a supplement for horses in small amounts is not a problem.

More on palliation and suppression later. Madalyn

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