What is a holistic doctor?
A holistic doctor treats people using a whole-body approach. That means they focus on your body, mind, spirit and emotions when diagnosing and treating you. Holistic doctors use traditional medicine and also consider factors such as your lifestyle, diet, sleep habits and stress level.
Holistic doctors believe there’s a connection between your body systems. They believe optimal health and wellness include a balance of your mind, body and spirit. Holistic medicine doesn’t replace traditional medicine. However, it’s key to the practice of integrative medicine.
What values do holistic doctors believe in?
Holistic doctors have various core values they use to practice medicine. Holistic doctors:
- Believe your condition shouldn’t define you.
- Prefer to prevent a disease or condition first, and treat the disease or condition second.
- Believe your condition involves your whole body rather than one body part.
- Search for the underlying cause of your disease instead of just treating your symptoms.
- Believe in using a variety of safe options to treat your condition.
- Trust that the relationship they establish with you can determine a healthy outcome.
What are the different types of holistic doctors?
Some holistic doctors have traditional medical degrees. They pair their conventional medical training with holistic approaches. Other providers may not have a traditional medical degree. However, they have degrees in various forms of complementary or alternative medicine. These doctors include:
- Integrative Medical Doctor (MD): Integrative medical doctors are fully licensed medical doctors. They combine traditional medicine with whole-body techniques.
- Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO): Osteopathic doctors are fully licensed medical doctors. They have special training in manually manipulating your musculoskeletal system.
- Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine (DC): Chiropractors use a hands-on approach to manipulate your joints. They work to reduce your pain and correct your body’s alignment.
- Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine (ND): Naturopathic doctors use a combination of traditional medical science, holistic approaches and natural therapies.
- Acupuncturist (LAc): Acupuncturists use the traditional Chinese method of inserting thin steel needles into your skin at certain points. This helps to rebalance your body’s energy, or Qi (pronounced “chee”).
- Chinese Herbalist: Chinese herbalists use traditional Chinese herbal remedies to treat a wide range of sudden and long-term conditions.
How do you become a holistic doctor?
Integrative medical doctors
Integrative medical doctors attend four years of conventional medical school. After medical school, they go on to complete a three- to seven-year residency in their chosen specialty. Residency includes extra training in their specialty. After residency, they can go on to pursue a fellowship in integrative medicine. Integrative medicine fellows receive more than 1,000 hours of coursework in integrative medicine.
Osteopathic doctors attend four years of osteopathic medical school. In medical school, they receive approximately 200 hours of training in manipulative treatment. After they’ve graduated from medical school and chosen a specialty, they go on to complete a residency.
Chiropractors attend four years of chiropractic medical school. Chiropractors study conventional medical topics such as anatomy and physiology. They also learn about rehabilitation, nutrition and public health. Chiropractors receive at least 4,200 hours of classroom, lab and clinical experience.
Naturopathic doctors attend four years of naturopathic medical school. Naturopathic doctors complete thousands of hours of training in clinical nutrition, herbal medicine, behavioral medicine, physical medicine, homeopathy and more. Not all states license naturopathic doctors to practice.
Acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists
Acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists typically graduate with master’s degrees or doctoral degrees in acupuncture and/or Chinese Medicine. They must be board certified and licensed to practice acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
What is the average salary of a holistic doctor?
Physicians who practice holistic medicine are sometimes primary care doctors or family doctors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of a family practice physician was $207,380 in 2020. However, the average salary of a holistic doctor varies widely depending on the type of healthcare provider. The median annual salary of an acupuncturist was $82,420 in 2020. The median annual salary of a chiropractor was $70,720 in 2020.
Where can I find the best holistic doctor near me?
If you’re interested in finding a holistic doctor, you can ask your friends or family members for recommendations. They know you and what you’re looking for in a doctor. You may want to check for recommendations on social media, but always do your own research. In addition, your current healthcare provider may be able to suggest options for you.
After you’ve compiled a list of options, contact the offices to inquire more about each holistic doctor. Some questions you may want to ask include:
- Is the holistic doctor accepting new patients?
- Does the holistic doctor take my insurance?
- What are the office hours?
- Do you have weekend or evening appointments?
- Do you communicate and collaborate with patients’ existing medical teams?
- What’s your treatment of philosophy?
- Do you practice evidence-based holistic medicine?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
A holistic doctor looks at you as a whole person. They consider your body, mind and soul. Holistic doctors focus on the underlying cause of your condition. They’re all licensed doctors and can help you address your individual health needs and support you in achieving your health goals. They communicate and collaborate with your existing care providers and always practice evidence-based medicine.
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