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Holistic Approaches
A Brief Overview
You may have noticed that the word "holistic" is used often on this website. This is a word that is appearing more frequently in recent times, especially with the growing emphasis society is placing on natural foods and personal health. Nevertheless, you may not completely understand what "holistic" means.

"Holistic" comes from the word "whole." A holistic approach views the world as a complete system, rather than focusing only on individual components, based on the philosophy that nature is more balanced and total when considered as a whole. No individual "part" can function by itself and hope to maintain balance in the natural world.

Holistic approaches are becoming very popular among human and animal care specialists recently. The standards of western culture, where conventional (science-based) medical treatments are considered normal, view holistic ("alternative") approaches as a new trend. However, holistic approaches already existed as far back as 5,000 years ago in countries like India and China.

Instead of conquering nature, people in these regions accepted living in harmony with nature. Native Americans in the western hemisphere also supported a balanced life with nature. To them, healing occurred naturally, assisted by harmony with the surrounding world. Pains and symptoms were signs that you were living out of balance with nature.

With these concepts in mind, holistic approaches deal with the body as a whole - with body, mind, emotions, and spirit all considered together as one. The holistic approach is focused on the avoidance of diseases and maintenance of optimum health and well-being.

Holistic approaches differ from conventional medicine. Conventional medicine typically focuses on specific body parts and tries to remove particular symptoms. In contrast, holistic approaches go deeper than symptoms - going to the root and asking, "What is the cause of these symptoms? Is it lack of nutrition? Is there an environmental source? Could emotional stress be a factor?" And so on.

For example, if you have a headache, you may consider taking a painkiller to mask the symptom until the problem "goes away". However, you may also have an idea about the true source of the headache - an upcoming deadline at work, a skipped meal, or perhaps not enough sleep. In this case, your headache can be managed once the cause is identified and addressed directly (you meet the deadline through preparation, you eat a balanced diet, and you get the necessary amount of sleep every night).

Of course, the body isn't always as simple as this...

As long as the underlying cause of illness is not recognized, the symptoms will continue to surface, no matter how often you hide them with medicine. Pills may temporarily ease your pain, but they will not help forever. This is the limitation of conventional medicine, and when people begin to realize that chronic conditions do not respond to science-based medications, they may turn to holistic approaches.

Holistic techniques are non-invasive. They include approaches like:
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbs
  • Chiropractic
  • Homeopathy
  • Massage Therapy
  • Nutrition
  • Physical Therapy
However, please don't take what you've read so far as a complete dismissal of conventional medicine as a means of addressing sickness. Certainly, in the case of trauma, emergencies, and other acute problems (like bacterial infections), conventional medicine will help tremendously.

A holistic lifestyle is preventative, and is also more suitable for chronic conditions where prolonged use of conventional medicine is considered adverse because of its side-effects. Holistic care is more focused on taking advantage of the body's inherent "self-healing" abilities.

Another advantage of holistic approaches is that they can also incorporate the best of conventional medicines - including surgery. For example, an ideal veterinarian is knowledgeable in both holistic and conventional medicines.

Animals that are raised and cared for holistically on a daily basis are generally healthy and live in a balanced state both physically and mentally. Even when they get sick, their immune systems are strong enough to regain normal balance quickly, healing faster than animals who never receive holistic care.

Holistic approaches are very safe and have few side-effects when conducted properly. And by being helpful in avoiding of future illness, holistic approaches are more cost-effective in the long run.

Holistic care produces animals with optimal health - something far superior than the mere "absence of sickness!"

Special Note: Although every effort has been made to present healthy products and useful information to support your pets' health, the products and information contained within this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The contents of this site are not meant as a substitute for consultation with a trained veterinarian. If you are concerned about the health of your pets, you should ask your veterinarian for proper guidance suited to the specific condition of your pets. The owners of this website accept no liability for any consequences resulting from the use of products and/or information provided through this site. Please use your discretion when attending to your pets' health.
Special thanks to Fintan Darragh, Rich Bensen, Maggie, Jiji, and Mary Crissman for providing our pet pictures!
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