Improve Your Health and Save Money, Holistically!

By Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal

From cat food to human health, the word “holistic” is in vogue on Madison Avenue. But what does it really mean and how does it relate to your health? Understanding the definition can improve your life and save you money.

True holistic care is often improperly viewed as meaning “natural” or “non-medical.” And while it does typically incorporate natural treatment methods, it more importantly looks at your whole being, not just the sick body part and symptoms. Holism is classically defined as the theory that living matter is made up of organic or unified wholes that are greater than the simple sum of their parts. Correcting all of the underlying problems related to a condition can end the months or years paying to manage symptoms when the cause of the problem is left unresolved.

The chiropractic approach offers a truly holistic health care system, as many doctors of chiropractic work extensively with nutrition, exercise, stress management and supplementation. The central basis of chiropractic care is to focus on the entire person by examining how well the nervous system functions. As stated in the classic medical textbook, GRAY'S ANATOMY, every function of the human body is under the control of the nervous system. Its function is to coordinate all other organs and structures and to relate the individual to his or her environment.

The spine is like a row of circuit breakers connecting the brain to the rest of the body, and chiropractors specialize in turning and keeping those circuits on. Due to the vital role of the nervous system, its protection is essential for your optimum health and avoidance of sickness and disease. The stack of bones called the spinal column houses and protects a key component of the nervous system that extends down from the brain, known as the spinal cord. If a bone in your back or neck misaligns, it can damage and alter the function of the nervous system. The organ, gland, muscle or other body part fed from the injured nerve will lose some or all function.

Let’s consider two common maladies—headaches and acid reflux—to illustrate the holistic chiropractic approach. Both are typically treated with medication that temporarily suppresses the symptoms. This approach may be necessary at times, but is not a corrective solution. The holistic chiropractic approach, depending on the individual doctor’s method of treatment, may include the following:

Headaches

  1. Rule out serious, life-threatening, underlying illness with consultation, examination, diagnostic testing and/or referral when needed. If no emergency exists, proceed with corrective care.
  2. Evaluate for the presence of spinal misalignments, particularly in the neck.
  3. Analyze for soft tissue involvement like muscle spasms and restricted fascia (bands or sheaths of connective tissue).  
  4. Determine if other factors are contributing and require correction such as stress, poor postural habits, dehydration, jaw problems, skull bone fixation or toxicity.

Acid-reflux

  1. Again, rule-out serious illness requiring immediate emergency medical attention.
  2. Analyze for spinal misalignments causing interference to the areas of the nervous system which control the stomach and related components of the gastrointestinal tract.
  3. Gently adjust the position of the stomach, if needed, to allow for proper function and closure of the sphincter.
  4. Provide nutritional supplement support to help heal the irritated tissues and normalize digestive function.
  5. Determine whether additional causative factors exist, such as excessive stress or harmful food choices.

Whether you are seeking care for whiplash or constipation, sciatica or ear infections, or you want health optimization and prevention of disease, the truly HOLISTIC approach found in chiropractic may provide the comprehensive outlook that you need. Broaden your vision and recognize that you are so much MORE than just your individual parts!