The kind of healthcare that is available to people living in urban environments is largely dependent on what part of the world they live in. In the US, there are many different options for healthcare and many of these are dependant on the specific region a particular urban area is in. Population factors such as the overall socio-economic and education levels of the people living together in an urban area, influence the kind of healthcare choices that are presented to the overall population.      

Holistic Healthcare

Many parts of the world offer holistic healthcare options and in many parts of the world, this kind of healthcare is not considered “alternative”. Many holistic health practitioners base the care of their patients’ on very old healing practices, philosophies, and techniques where they consider the patient as a whole person, not just a problem or symptoms of a problem. The ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, may have been the first person from Western civilisation to describe holistic health when he said, “- the part can never be well unless the whole is well.”  Holistic health seeks to balance the body’s interconnected systems to optimize its inherent ability to heal itself while also trying to attain a state of optimal health. From a holistic perspective, “healthy” is much more than just being absent of illness and ailments. Ancient healers recognized the importance of physical, emotional, and spiritual well being. Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, ayurveda and herbology, are just a few of the many old methods of holistic healing that are popular among holistic health practitioners and patients.

Conventional Western Medicine

Even though Western civilization and medicine evolved from the Greeks, many of our conventional medical practices have moved away from the earliest “modern” doctors. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, stressed the healing power of nature and believed in strengthening the body’s ability to self-heal. Other physicians of Hippocrates time were more interested in intervention, specifically to correct a problem, rather than HIppocrates more holistic approach. These two camps of thinking were hotly debated for centuries until the scientific revolution of the 19th century.

When germs were discovered and identified as what cause disease and illness, Western medicine became focused on intervention. Physicians focused on fixing problems and tended to pay less attention to the whole person that is comprised of their interconnected physical, emotional, and spiritual selves. They did not place much importance on factors such as a person’s environment and lifestyle. This was a time when medical professionals with degrees from Western medical schools were looked upon as an ultimate authority when trying to help a patient. Doctors came up with solutions to their patients’ problems and the patient did not play a proactive role in managing their health or contributing to the doctor’s diagnosis and plan to make them better.