What Is Holistic Medicine?

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qaQ & A With Dr. Michael Wald

What is the difference between various complimentary healthcare approaches?

1. Is there a difference between the terms holistic, alternative, complimentary, integrated and natural healthcare?

Answer: Yes. Although there are no universally decided upon definitions of these terms, here are some reasonable definitions:

a.) Holistic – Holistic implies that the practitioner is open-minded towards a variety of healing modalities no matter where they come from (i.e., from traditional medicine or natural medicine). However, many holistic practitioners consider themselves holistic even though they only practice natural medicine and do not ever refer to medical doctors.

b.) Alternative – This term commonly implies that the practitioner and his/her approaches are not found in mainstream medicine and therefore considered alternative. These approaches are considered “not medically necessary” or “not approved” by allopathic mainstream physicians or insurance companies.

c.) Complimentary medicine – A more vague term implying that the healing methods/philosophies of the practitioner include at least some traditional medical approaches along with natural approaches.

d.) Integrated – Integrated medicine is our personal favorite which is why we call ourselves “Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco”. For us, integrated means the intelligent and balanced consideration of any form of healing method that is available; choosing the safest, most effective methods for each individual patient in the context of their belief system. Whether it is from allopathic medicine, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, American herbal medicine, diet, prescription medications, imaging modalities and/or diet, etc. Testing is also utilized to develop individualized treatments.

e.) Natural – Natural medicine implies that the practitioner uses healing methods that are completely natural based on diet and common nutritional supplements – in other words, whatever is found or made from nature and is not a prescription drug.

2. Is there a difference among the knowledge and education of various types of “nutritional” practitioners such as dieticians, clinical nutritionists, certified clinical nutritionists, certified nutritional specialists, board certified nutritionists and nutritional counselors?

Answer: The educational degree is certainly not the only factor that determines the nutritional competency of a practitioner. Their education does offer an opportunity for the practitioner to be exposed to information, which he or she may take to heart and deliver in a clinically effective way. At Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco our practitioners have a combination of practically every single major degree in nutrition available. Dr. Michael Wald is perhaps the most highly qualified “nutritionist” in the United States with a medical education, a chiropractic degree, a certified clinical nutritionist degree, a certified nutrition specialist degree, two board certifications in nutrition, a Master’s degree in nutrition as well as other qualifications. Go to www.intmedny.com for more information.

3. Is a nutritionist qualified to order and perform laboratory work?

Answer: No. Nutritionists, in no program that we are aware of in the United States, receive any formal training in laboratory assessment. Laboratory assessment is highly complex and requires knowledge of body systems and physiology and biochemistry that is generally well beyond the scope of standard nutrition educational programs. A nutritionist who is not working with a qualified practitioner who can read laboratory work, like our own “Blood Detectives”, should not order and/or offer to interpret laboratory work including blood typing. Please
read under the Services section on our Blood Detective website for more information on our philosophy towards improving health through individualized nutritional and diet suggestions based upon your unique biochemistry.

4. Are the opinions of standard medical doctors of value in the area of nutrition?

Answer: Our experience says no. The average MD in the US has four (4) hours of nutritional education and it is superfi cial at best. A weekend course also does not make an MD qualifi ed to give nutritional advice or to necessarily criticize unfamiliar nutritional approaches.

– Dr. Michael Wald, Brain-Energy Blast