Modern Medicine and Holistic Medicine

The Journey from Modern Medicine to Holistic Medicine

The Journey from Modern Medicine to Holistic Medicine

By Sophia Harmes, PhD.*

We commonly think of a journey as the movement from one place to another.  A journey can also be viewed as a process of change and development.   Making a transition from modern medicine to holistic medicine is a journey.  This transitional journey enables you to take charge of your health and wellness rather than trusting a physician to make those choices for you.  

Holistic medicine requires the individual to be involved in making decisions about their health care with the guidance of a medical physician and holistic practitioners.  Holistic medicine considers the entire person; meaning it includes the mind, the body, the spirit and emotions in the healing process.  Rather than quickly prescribing medications, a holistic practitioner will look at a person’s overall health which includes environmental factors, emotional issues, physical issues, and spiritual awareness in attempting to identify the root cause of the health concern.  

When all these elements work together in sync with the other, the result is optimal health and wellness.  Therefore, the primary goal of holistic medicine is to maintain a balance in one's life among all these elements.  Balance is important because if one part of the body is not working properly it can impact other areas of the body as well.  The imbalance can affect your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.  That in turn creates a negative response on overall health.  It is plausible that a condition a person suffers from has been brought on by a lack of activity or an imbalance in one of these areas.  

Modern vs. Holistic Health Care

Let’s look at the difference between modern and holistic modes of health care.  Modern medicine is based on the Newtonian view that the body is a machine.  Physicians routinely treat the body like it is a machine that requires repairing.  When there is a health condition, doctors treat the body with a variety of medicines or surgical techniques.  Doctors use techniques such as surgery to cut away bad cellular structures or to bypass or remove blockages.  Bypass heart surgery is an example of where these techniques are used to control blood flow throughout the body (Gerber 2001).   

Holistic practitioners operate under the premise that the patient is responsible for their health and wellness not the doctor because they understand all people are gifted with healing powers.  The patient is viewed as a person; not a disease or an obstacle in the ‘machine’ that needs to be removed.  Cooperation between the medical doctor and (a) holistic practitioner(s) that practice activities that include acupuncture, chiropractic care, chakra balancing, vibrational or energy healing, reiki, homeopathy, or massage therapy is necessary.  Holistic medicine is premised on the Einsteinian mode of medicine that incorporates the concepts of matter and energy both of which cannot be seen.  According to Einstein “energy and matter are one and the same thing” (Gerber 2001, 65).  The Einsteinian view of medicine also includes the concept of spirit (unseen) in the healing process in addition to understanding the body and how it functions (modern medicine).  Einsteinian medicine includes the integration of vibrational medicine in the healing process (Gerber 2001). 

The focus of vibrational medicine techniques relates to the cause of a disease or illness to understand what is required to help eliminate or heal the client.  Diseases create significant changes to the electromagnetic field of a living organism.  This in turn leads to an imbalance in the body’s system.  Vibrational medicine attempts to address illness by manipulating the body's energy fields rather than altering cells and organs using pharmaceutical drugs or surgery.  There are a variety of vibrational healing activities that affect subtle energy patterns in the body to improve functioning and facilitate healing (Gerber 2001).  Vibrational therapies performed by holistic practitioners include but are not limited to balancing the chakras; acupuncture and Chinese philosophy of healing; gemstones and crystals; meditation and spiritual growth, Reiki and healing touch and yoga.

The difference between a holistic doctor and a medical doctor, other than the level of education, is that the holistic doctor tries to get to the root cause of your health issue.  They will then discuss with you the different therapies that would be beneficial for you and that you are comfortable with undertaking to help address your health concern.  There are a variety of holistic practices as mentioned above that you can incorporate into your health care regimen that integrates the spirit, the mind, the body, and emotions.  Yoga is a very good example of a holistic activity that integrates all these areas.  Meditation is an example of a simple holistic practice you can do on your own.  

Significance of Vibrational and Holistic Treatments

The first form of vibrational medicine implemented by modern medicine practitioners was the x-ray machine.  X-ray machines have enabled physicians to view inside the body to see damage in the cellular and skeletal structure.  This technology was used to develop other types of medical machinery that rely on measuring vibration in the body to produce an image.  This enables doctors to identify damaged tissue or health issues.  These include CAT scans and MRIs, electrography and sonograms.   Some medical diagnostic machinery harnesses the vibrational energy of gemstones or crystals for their operation.   Gemstones and crystals, such as quartz, are used in medical equipment to enhance transmission and receiving for measuring vibration in the body to produce an image (Gerber 2001).

Holistic treatments are not mainstream medical practices.  Many originate from Eastern philosophy ideology of health and wellness.  According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which is part of the National Institutes of Health, health practices that are not mainstream medical practices are divided into five different categories.  One category is alternative medical systems.  These include healing practices that have been utilized for centuries such as traditional Chinese medicine, ayurvedic medicine, and homeopathy.   A second category consists of mind-body interventions.  This includes practices such as meditation, yoga, and support groups which help to integrate the mind with the physical body.  The third category suggests therapies that are biologically based.  Biologically based therapies include aromatherapy, herbal medicine, and other natural plant-based supplements.  The fourth category includes methods that manipulate the body.  For example, massage therapy or chiropractic care or both.  The final category consists of energy therapies.  Energy therapies involve moving bodily energy fields and flows throughout and around a person’s body. The manipulation of the energy helps to improve health and well-being by removing or reducing blockages to the natural flow of energy throughout the body (Wong, 2019.

Guidelines for the Journey

The following are guidelines to consider as you journey through your medical transition.  When choosing holistic practitioners search for those who can assist you in your holistic health care.  First, speak with your medical health care provider.  Let them know that you have a desire to incorporate other avenues into your healing process.  This is very important especially if you are on a medication regiment for a specific health issue.  Many physicians are becoming more open to incorporating holistic health practices with their medical care options and are willing to work with you.  

Don't go to just anybody!  Get referrals from friends and relatives or read the comments written by previous clients about their experience and that provider.  You may even be able to get a recommendation from your doctor if they are open to holistic healing. 

Do some background checking about a variety of holistic methods.  Find out what a specific type of holistic care is all about so that you are informed and can make an educated choice on what mode of holistic medicine is best for you.  

Then think how you feel about the practitioner.  Are you comfortable with the person that you are seeking out?   You may want to call and talk to the practitioner about the holistic activity you are interested in and how it might be able to benefit you.  Make an appointment to ensure that the provider will spend enough time with you to explain things and answer your questions.  This is important for them as well so that they can understand what your needs are for your health and wellness. 


Keep in mind that most insurance companies do not cover holistic practitioner services such as reiki, energy healing activities, ayurvedic practices, etc.  Other things to consider throughout your journey:  You are trying to be holistic so think holistically regarding your health care!  Be selective about your practitioner and consider the cost for each session.  It is important to understand that holistic therapy normally requires more than one session with a practitioner to be able to help resolve specific health issues.  Choose someone that offers a package deal that includes several sessions at a discounted rate.  

Always make sure you ask questions. This is so important because it puts you at ease and provides an understanding of what that practitioner will be doing to you.  They may be able to offer you suggestions on exercise or sleep habits, help you talk about emotional issues, or discuss your spiritual or religious beliefs and practices.  Review these options with your holistic practitioner as well as your medical physician to fully understand what types of treatment options are available and which would be appropriate for you to implement in achieving your greatest health and wellness.  Stay safe and healthy!

*Sophia Harmes is the owner and operator of Terram Olei, LLC and  Her business provides information, guidance and holistic health services such as Reiki, Chakra Balancing, Energy Healing and Access Conscious Bars.  She has a PhD. In Energy and Environmental Policy from the University of Delaware.  Sophia has been in business since 2014 selling alternative health and wellness products and services.


Gerber, Richard, MD. 2001. “Vibrational Medicine: The #1 Handbook of Subtle-Energy Therapies.” 3rd ed. Bear & Company.  Rochester, VT.

Levine, Hallie. 2018. “Guide to Natural Cures: Which Provide Real Relief – and Which are Risky, Harmful, or a Waste of Money?”  Consumer Reports.  Accessed 3/24/2020.

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.  “6 Things to Know When Selecting a Complementary Health Practitioner.”  Accessed 3/28/2020. 

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.  “Are You Considering a Complementary Health Approach?”  Accessed 3/28/2020. 

WebMD. “What is Holistic Medicine?”  WebMD.  Accessed 3/24/2020.

Wong, Cathy, 2019.  “Overview of Holistic Health.”  verywellhealth.  Medically reviewed by Richard N. Fogoros, MD.  Sept. 20, 2019.  Accessed 3/28/2020.

Wong, Cathy, 2019.  “5 Types of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.”  verywellhealth.  Medically reviewed by Richard N. Fogoros, MD.  Oct. 24, 2019.  Accessed 3/28/2020.

First appeared in Therapeutic Thymes Magazine, Summer 2020, Issue 15.

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