By Abby Montanez and Victoria Keenan
Oftentimes, the phrase “alternative medicine” can carry a negative connotation, looked at as something we turn towards when we’ve exhausted all other options. But it doesn’t have to be that way. What if alternative approaches to health care actually became the norm? Imagine for a moment, embracing methods such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, or reflexology; these forms of treatment are not only instrumental in protecting our bodies from the harms of traditional Western medicine, but are also the most natural to us.
We sat down with Sarah Khosrowjerdi, Licensed Acupuncturist and founder of Acupuncture Atelier in Hoboken, to discuss how more people are opening their minds to a holistic approach to medicine and are seeking alternative medical practitioners. Khosrowjerdi explained that while she offers holistic approaches such as acupuncture, Chinese face reading, reiki and aromatherapy, she understands the fears many people have about trying something new. But while she would never discourage clients from taking their medicine or seeing their regular doctors, holistic and alternative medicines treat more than just the general illness, they effectively treat the whole person individually—body and mind.
For those few skeptics, Khosrowjerdi broke down some of the most important factors of holistic medicine, as well as the most common misconceptions people still have, and how things are changing.
1. Everything is connected.
“A huge part of holistic healthcare is that [alternative medical practitioners] recognize the mind/body connection. There’s a mental and emotional component to everything. We treat the whole body, the whole person, and that’s part of what makes it special and why results can be seen so quickly. We understand the different components [of the body].”
2. Alternative medical practitioners go through years of training.
“A lot of patients don’t think that alternative medical practitioners have been trained properly. However, through our schooling, we’ve been taught how to recognize medical red flags. We know what to look for. As a licensed practitioner, I would never ever tell a patient to not take a drug or antibiotic that was prescribed to them. There’s a fine line.”
3. People fear the unknown.
“People get scared of what they don’t know and often turn to us when they’re at the bottom of the barrel and are willing to try anything. It can seem scary because a lot of patients don’t know or understand what we’re doing and if it can’t be easily explained, then they decide it’s not for them. [Practitioners] go to school for a long time and it’s almost like learning a new language. We can’t always translate it exactly. It may not entirely make sense to some people.”
4. People believe treatment is too expensive.
“Alternative forms of health care are thought to be expensive. But what you’re actually paying for, aside from the treatments, is the time you spend with the practitioner. We’re working through every step with you, every detail, so that you can receive a proper diagnosis.”
5. Holistic practitioners can help discover undetected illnesses.
“There are so many mysterious illnesses out there that can’t be explained or that go undetected. It’s in those situations where I feel alternative healthcare providers thrive. We are able to evaluate the situation better and pinpoint what exactly is causing the issue. I’m not saying that we’ll have the cure, but we’re definitely making the patient more comfortable.”
6. Antibiotics can take a toll on your body.
“Constantly putting antibiotics into your body or filling yourself with prescription drugs can take a toll on your whole system. If you use natural products, it’s easier on the body, it’s easier on the aging process and you will just have an easier time breaking it down. Also, you’re not killing all that good bacteria that lives in your body.”
7. There’s a stigma attached to holistic and alternative healthcare.
“The stigma is starting to go away and I think that’s really beautiful. People are becoming more open and more curious and once patients are able to experience the relief they’ve been searching for, they really love it.”