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Gettyimages.com/Acupuncture. Acupuncturist inserting a needle into a client’s back. This traditional Chinese practice uses needles to restore an energy flow through specific points on the skin. It is used to relieve pain and to treat a wide range of disorders. Modern Western medicine explains the pain-relieving effects by suggesting that the needles stimulate the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.

If you think your friend who always has an appointment with this apothecary, that acupuncturist, or this homeopathic doctor is a bit eccentric, think again—holistic medicine has been around since, conceivably, the beginning of time. We haven’t always had the chemicals and machines we have today to make modern medicine. For a long time, human beings had to take a holistic approach to their health because it was the only option they had. That’s not to say modern medicine isn’t important—I mean, it’s obviously fabulous and has improved the quality of life as well as saved the lives of many. But, because modern medicine appears to be able to provide quick fixes to so many things, many of us have gotten in the habit of turning to it for non-dire problems, when the answer may be in something that doesn’t come in a vial. Here is why you should consult with a holistic doctor, at least once.

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There’s such thing as too much medication

If there comes a point when you can’t even remember, off the top of your head, how many medications you’re on, it may be time to see a holistic doctor. There is such thing as taking too much medication. How many chemicals do you really want streaming through your blood? While some conditions must, of course, be treated with prescriptions, many don’t have to be—we just need to be patient enough to find the root of the issue.

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And medications cause side effects that need medication

Medications often cause side effects, for which you need other medications. Treating some problems through modern medicine can sometimes just create more problems. Meanwhile, a holistic doctor seeks to get to the root of your issue, so she can treat that, rather than just treat your symptoms. When you treat the root of a problem, you don’t need to worry about side effects as much.

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She’ll think about your diet

A holistic doctor will think and talk about something traditional doctors don’t talk about enough—nutrition. An alarming number of issues many people deal with every day (migraines, muscle pains, digestive issues) are set on by or aggravated by our diets. But doctors are quick to just write a prescription when, a simple adjustment to our grocery shopping list may have helped. A holistic doctor will always try to see if your diet is the cause of your issues.

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She’ll think about your history of illness/injury

She’ll think of not just what you’re going through today, but what you’ve gone through throughout your life. Were you ever in a car accident? Did you ever have an eating disorder? Were you some sort of advanced athlete at one point in your life? All of these things could play into what you’re experiencing today.

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She’ll spend a lot of time with you

Traditional doctors are always so rushed—you can feel like you’re inconveniencing them by giving them more information. If you notice a holistic doctor’s consultation fee is a bit higher than you expected, just know that it’s worth it: they often put aside 45 minutes to an hour (if not more) to consult with a new patient. They truly want to get to know you, and gather all of the information they possibly can to help you.

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She’ll ask about your habits and lifestyle

Your holistic doctor will want a detailed play-by-play of your day-to-day life. She’ll want to know everything from the times you eat to the temperature of water you bathe in to where you exercise. She’s asking these questions for good reasons—she’s getting a big picture look at your life and health.

Bigstockphoto.com/Close up of a cod liver fish oil capsule a nutritional supplement high in omega-3 fatty acids EPA DHA and high levels of vitamin A and vitamin D.

It could be a product/supplement/something small

Sometimes, something as simple as the moisturizer you use, the daily vitamin you take, or the detergent you wash your clothes with, can be causing the issue you’re experiencing. Holistic doctors tend to be more up to date on common household products that have been causing symptoms than traditional doctors are.

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She’ll teach you to think holistically

Your holistic doctor will teach you to think holistically. She’ll give you a new lens—a new framework through which you can analyze your life. When you get a new symptom, you can take the things she has taught you to try to self-diagnose. So, you can see if cutting this food or product can help before rushing immediately to your doctor.

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She can work with your regular doctor

Holistic doctors can work with your regular doctor. This is especially true when you’re undergoing surgery—they can consult your doctor, and work together to find a recovery plan that keeps your holistic regiment, and overall medical needs, in mind.

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Holistic prevention is cost-effective

Consider a consultation with a holistic doctor as preventative. As stated before, she can teach you habits, as well as analytical tools, that can reduce the number of times you need to see a regular doctor.

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Holistic treatment is cost-effective

If a holistic doctor can find a way to treat your problem that doesn’t require medication—perhaps it just requires a change in diet or habits on your end—that is virtually free compared to medication. That’s not to say that medication won’t be needed, but it never hurts to first see if you can treat something holistically.

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She’ll give you tools you can use year-round

Your holistic doctor will teach you about all sorts of habits and products to boost your wellness, from certain teas, to styles of meditation, to plants you can grow in your home.

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She’ll help you connect the dots

A holistic doctor will help you connect the dots of your health, symptoms, and conditions. She’ll teach you to view your symptoms not as isolated issues, but perhaps as related problems that affect one another.

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She may find what your regular doctor can’t

Your holistic doctor may just be able to find what your regular doctor couldn’t. Your regular doctor is wonderful, I’m sure, but she may not be trained to ask questions as simple as, “How far do you sit from your steering wheel?” or “What sort of plants does your dog play in?” Yes—these can lead a holistic doctor to an answer to your problems (sometimes).

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The more you go, the less you’ll need her

The more you see a holistic doctor, the less you’ll eventually need to. Using the tools and knowledge she gives you, you may be able to get to the root of new symptoms that arise pretty quickly, on your own.

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