How Alternative Medicine and Holistic Health & Healing Have Evolved

Alternative medicine and holistic health first started to gain attention back in the 1990s. At that time, people were looking for natural alternatives to traditional medical treatments and prescription drugs. Many people were already using “home remedies” to treat colds, flus, and other ailments passed down from one generation to the next.

Healthy Eating & Weight

However, they were not as forthcoming when talking to their primary care providers about what “home remedies” they were using. Most healthcare providers of that time were just starting to expand their thinking into “unconventional’ medical care and treatments.

For example, to reduce the risks of heart disease, doctors were starting to realize they needed to do more than rely on prescription drugs to treat the symptoms. They started to explore how diet and exercise could play a role in reducing heart disease risks. This change in thinking helped pave the way for nutritionists, nutritional counseling, physical therapists, and personal trainers.

Congress even took notice of what was going on. They allocated $2 million for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Office of Alternative Medicine (OAM) for the first fiscal year when it began operations in October 1991.1 The purpose of the NIH and the OAM was to explore alternative treatments for various medical conditions without relying upon conventional treatments, such as surgeries and prescription drugs.

In October 1998, the NIH and the OAM were renamed the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). The name was changed again in December 2014 to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). The change was reflective of what was occurring in our society and the healthcare industry.

The Rise of Holistic Health

Man Enjoying a Holistic Massage

While many people identify with alternative forms of medical care and treatment, the word “alternative” is no longer considered “trendy.” Instead, the terms “complementary” and “integrative” have become more reflective of today’s practices.

Complementary and integrative medicine is the terminology now being used to describe an encompassing style of medical care and treatments. For instance, you visit your primary care physician for back pain.

In the past, the method of care would involve taking prescription muscle relaxants and pain relievers to alleviate the pain. Today, treatments utilize Holistic Health & Healing methods, like using hot and cold compresses, stretching exercises, chiropractic care, and other non-invasive methods.

These holistic methods can be combined with conventional treatments if needed, like using an over-the-counter pain reliever or a prescription muscle relaxant. As you can see, holistic methods have now become complementary and integrated into conventional medical treatments and care.

Yet, Holistic Medicine & Healing Nutrition Principles are not just being used by primary care providers. It has spawned a wide range of holistic natural health treatments and methods being used on their own, including:

  • Aromatherapy
  • Yoga
  • Medication
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage Therapy
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition and Dietary Counseling
  • Natural Vitamins and Supplements
  • Chiropractic Treatments
  • Naturopathic Treatments

Thanks to these advances, physician and healthcare providers are now focusing on the well-being of people’s mind, spirit, and body by not just treating the symptoms, but finding the root cause for their ailments.

In the coming years, holistic medicine will continue to grow with demand for trained professionals with holistic and nutrition degrees. For more information about our holistic and nutrition school, our online courses, degrees, or enrollment information, please feel free to contact the University of Natural Health at 888-397-9394 today!