i-am magazine Jan/Feb 2015 WELLNESS

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that there was a better way. I founded The Woodlands Institute to combine the science of traditional medicine with the wisdom of natural holistic approaches, wholesome nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. So what does ‘holistic’ mean anyway? It means taking into account a person as a whole and realizing that the person is made up of interdependent parts. If one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. Holistic medicine addresses the mind, body and spirit in the quest for optimal health. It’s about finding and correcting the underlying causes of symptoms and disease rather than simply alleviating symptoms using prescription drugs. Holistic practitioners may be MDs, naturopaths or chiropractors, for example. While conventional prescription medications may be used, the main focus of holistic medicine is the use of healing modalities that are more natural, such as vitamins, herbs, homeopathic remedies, massage, acupuncture, psychotherapy, nutritional interventions and other lifestyle modifications. Patient education is also an important aspect of holistic medicine because it requires active participation by the patient. The patient must be motivated to take control over his or her own health and be willing and able to adhere to the lifestyle changes that are necessary for healing. If you are looking for a quick fix with a pill, a holistic medical approach may not be for you. A PRESCRIPTION FOR HEALTH A typical patient I see in my practice has multiple symptoms, many of which cannot be treated with a pill. These symptoms may include fatigue, decreased mental sharpness, insomnia, chronic pain, unexplained weight gain and hair shedding. As you can imagine, there are many different reasons to have any or all of these symptoms, such as nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, food allergies/intolerance, sleep deprivation, and stress. After a thorough evaluation of all symptoms, medical history, and some diagnostic testing, the regimen I would outline for this person might look like this: • 30 to 90 days of detoxification, usually including a strict diet and some supplements • Stress management with deep breathing exercises, meditation, massage, therapy, and/ or yoga, for example • Adequate, restful, and restorative sleep using supplements and lifestyle modifications, such as dietary changes and exercise • Extensive counseling about nutrition (which does not mean a low fat, low cholesterol diet) • Testing for food allergies and/or sensitivities • Recommendations for chiropractic care and/

health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. — World Health Organization, 1948 • •

or acupuncture Hormone balance using supplements and/or bio-identical hormones Temporary prescription medications for relief, if needed, and as a last resort

Compare the above with the regimen I might have outlined as a mainstream doctor prior to discovering holistic approaches: • Prescription for an ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) medication to help with mental sharpness, energy, and appetite control • Prescription for a sleeping pill • Prescription for a pain medication • Referral to a dermatologist to evaluate hair loss The former provides a long-lasting program for improving health while the latter does not address the underlying causes of one’s symptoms. Rather, it will simply allow for temporary relief and the eventual accumulation of more symptoms due to side effects of medications, and the person will likely continue to get sicker over time. You can expect that the holistic regimen may take weeks or even months to achieve substantial improvement, whereas the mainstream approach may provide more immediate relief. When looking for a holistic practitioner, you should consider factors such as the practitioner’s training, experience, personality, philosophies and schedule. You may feel more comfortable with an MD, while another may feel more comfortable with a naturopath or chiropractor. See “Choosing a Holistic Practitioner” for information on the different types of holistic practitioners. You may want to consult with several practitioners before choosing what’s best for you. This will also allow you the opportunity to make sure you and the practitioner are a good fit for one another and that your beliefs are aligned. The best way to find a practitioner is to get a recommendation from someone you trust. You can also perform searches online for professional organizations, find a practitioner through their directories, and then search for online reviews of these practitioners.

Mila McManus, MD is a board-certified physician in Family Medicine and also has certifications through the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine and the American Academy of Biologically Identical Hormone Therapy. She has also been voted “Best of” in local competitions for the past 4 years. She has been featured on episodes of Great Day Houston and The Business Makers Radio Show and published her book Highway to Health: A Nutritional Roadmap in 2008. She sees patients at her private practice, The Woodlands Institute for Health & Wellness, in The Woodlands, TX.

• • • holistic health |


Choosing a Holistic Practitioner • An MD (medical doctor) is a physician who mainly focuses on using prescription medications and surgery as a reactive (as opposed to proactive) treatment for health issues. • A DO (doctor of osteopathy) is also trained as a medical doctor and, in addition, has learned osteopathic manipulations to address chronic pain and sometimes systemic illness (e.g. asthma). • A homeopath believes that ‘like cures like.’ That is, if a substance causes a symptom in a person, giving the person a very small amount of the same substance may cure the illness. In theory, a homeopathic dose enhances the body’s normal ability to heal itself. A homeopathic health practitioner uses pills or mixtures containing only a little of an active ingredient (usually a plant or mineral) for treatment of disease. • A holistic physician is an MD or DO who seeks training, outside of what’s taught in medical school, in fields such as nutrition, homeopathy, toxicology, functional medicine, and anti-aging medicine using bio-identical hormones. • A naturopath is a licensed practitioner who focuses on prevention and uses protocols that minimize harm and help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal health. While also trained to use prescription medications, the emphasis is on using natural healing agents. Naturopaths are trained to treat all medical conditions. • A chiropractor is a health care professional who focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health.




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