What is a “Whole Health Healing” Approach?
National University of Health Science’s professional degree programs are designed to produce “whole health healers.” What does this mean if for prospective students comparing various schools?
“First and foremost, whole health healing is patient-centered care,” says James F. Winterstein, DC, NUHS president. “We train our chiropractic students to see each patient as a whole person. They learn how to evaluate the full range of factors – physical, mental, situational, and emotional – that influences each patient’s health. This is really the only way a physician can make an accurate diagnosis and apply the right treatment or combination of treatments for the best possible outcome with each patient.”
Learning to make fully informed medical diagnoses and to employ a wide range of clinically proven treatment modalities is the backbone of what is termed a “broad-scope” chiropractic curriculum. Dr. Winterstein has always championed broad-scope medical training for chiropractic students as opposed to a narrow focus on only spinal health and adjustments.
“A patient who comes in with a headache isn’t just a ‘head problem.’ Neither does that patient automatically need a neck adjustment,” says Dr. Winterstein. “A competent chiropractic physician needs the diagnostic skills to evaluate the full range of possibilities that could be causing that patient’s headache. They need to consider the total person, as well as the patient’s complete health profile and medical history.”
“A headache could be caused by something as serious as a brain tumor, or is perhaps a sign of infection in another part of the body, or the result of work-related stress. It even could be caused by a neglected dental problem. A ‘whole health physician’ has the medical training necessary to ask the right questions and evaluate the total picture before making a diagnosis and treatment plan,” Dr. Winterstein illustrates.
In addition to a comprehensive diagnosis, whole health physicians learn how to tap a wide range of treatment options in order to help their patients in the most effective way possible. “A chiropractic physician who sees manual adjustment as the only effective health treatment is like a mechanic with a toolbox that contains only a hammer,” says Dr. Winterstein.
A chiropractic student graduating from National, on the other hand, is trained in a wide variety of medical modalities and has a well-stocked ‘toolbox’,” Dr. Winterstein says. “Our grads are able to employ modern medical diagnostic testing, nutritional assessment and lifestyle counseling, botanical medicine, physical rehabilitation therapy, and a host of other clinically-proven treatment options for the good of their patients. They are also able to work effectively and co-manage patient cases with professionals from other medical specialties when appropriate: MDs, naturopathic physicians, licensed acupuncturists, or massage therapists, for example.”
Many patients, especially those with chronic health problems, see vast improvements with a whole health healing approach. Consider the following scenario.
After an hour wait for an X-ray, and seeing her busy HMO doctor for a total of five minutes, Mary with knee pain might leave her HMO clinic with yet another prescription for painkillers and a prognosis of knee replacement surgery down the road. Unhappy with this answer, Mary decides to try a chiropractic physician for a second opinion.
At one of National’s Whole Health Centers, Mary would enjoy a completely different experience. After a thorough medical history and interview with her clinician, Mary’s clinician might order an X-ray or request previous X-rays from her MD to assess any structural damage to Mary’s knee. Mary could receive a series of adjustments and physical therapy if warranted and not contraindicated by the X-rays. Mary might also take home specific nutritional supplements prescribed for her unique condition and a sheet with dietary changes she can make to decrease inflammation and speed the repair of her connective tissue.
Mary’s chiropractic physician might schedule her for an appointment with a certified massage therapist to relax the muscle tightness around the affected joint. Her clinician might also suggest acupuncture treatment as a more natural alternative to the prescription painkillers that cause unpleasant stomach pain for Mary. It would be Mary’s choice whether to try the acupuncture and to also choose how quickly or slowly she wanted to decrease her pain medication.
Because her chiropractic physician and the entire team at National are dedicated to whole health healing, Mary’s treatment program addresses several factors contributing to the root cause of Mary’s joint problem, working towards a permanent and positive change – rather than just relieving her pain through harsh drugs.
Noted trends-caster, Gerald Celente, predicts that whole health healing is really the future of medicine, because that’s what the consumer will increasingly demand. Celente, who was the featured speaker at National’s 2008 Homecoming, observed that, “Chiropractic physicians are uniquely situated to meet the rising demand for whole health healing, because they have the time to establish the real doctor/patient relationship that whole health healing demands.”
National University of Health Sciences, once again, is ahead of the trend by pioneering a broad-scope curriculum and clinical care policy that emphasizes “whole health healing” and integrative medicine. With a degree from National, you can be a part of the “whole health healing” revolution, and offer patient-centered care that is truly effective.