There is a significant challenge in the management of diabetes within the limits of the global population. Health stakeholders around the world are working hard to find out new methods of curbing the rising cases of diabetes around the world. That is why it is important to approach the problem of diabetes management from different perspectives by paying attention to preventive measures, as well as finding a more efficient means of treatment. One of the advances in the modern medicine is the implementation of holistic medicine that aims to investigate the broader context of treating the medical conditions, rather than focus purely on the biological aspects. Consequently, healthcare professionals play an important role in the provision of holistic care services to patients. Healthcare professionals are surcharged with the task of providing holistic care (in service to the body, mind, and spirit) to all patients without a consideration of their religious, cultural, or socio-economic backgrounds. The main goal of any brand of healthcare is to ensure that its services are offered in a non-discriminatory and compassionate manner. Nevertheless, healthcare professionals have lower rates of access to holistic medicine as opposed to mainstream medical resources. In addition, most healthcare resources in the developed countries are organized in line with recognizable business and management models. Modern medicine is aimed at producing the most efficient, accurate, and economical results. Healthcare professionals have to abide to these healthcare goals and access to holistic medicine resources has to conform to these three medical objectives. On most occasions, accuracy and efficiency do not conform to the images that are propagated by holistic medicine. Healthcare stakeholders are often turning to holistic medicine as a result of its cost-cutting abilities. Holistic medicine requires healthcare professionals to have access to both the patient’s body and soul faculties. However, there are various factors that prevent professionals to access patients’ body soul elements including political, ethical, and legal hurdles. This paper explores the solutions that can bridge the gap between diabetes consultants (professional caregivers) and holistic medicine.
Body Soul problem: Micro and Macro-Cosmos Theory in Diabetes Prevention
The Western Care model, including American and European care models, reflects the holistic, humanistic image of the man. The most popular humanistic images in the European holistic medicine are derived from Christianity, which serves as the basis for defining the specifics of human nature, which unites soul and body. While the mentioned care models pay much attention to the microcosm of a human body, they lack precision in reflecting the specifics of the macrocosm of the environment. Consequently, the holism of these models can be considered to lack comprehensiveness, as optimum care of the human body is impossible without caring about the external environmental factors. Healthcare professionals are often placed between the external and the internal factors of holism. Furthermore, the analysis of the concepts of micro and macro-cosmos in medicine can be used to reveal the components of effective care models for common diseases such as Diabetes.
The theory of micro and macro-cosmos originates from concepts of ancient Greek philosophy. According to this theory, a man (micro-cosmos) is a representation of a universe (macro-cosmos). The overall nature of holistic medicine is that it is based on the assumption that many of the characteristics of human body reflect the structure of the universe. Therefore, a human body is a reflection of a harmonious organization. Pythagoras was one of the first scientists and philosophers identifying the continuity between the universe and a human while Plato described the “soul of cosmos in its anthropomorphic representation” in more details (Phelps 131). Cosmos or the totality of a human being has a perfect structure that includes the elements that are related to each other through various harmonious strains. The human body has the same structure, as all organs and body systems are interrelated with each other and can function properly only as a healthy unity. Modern healthcare professionals ensure that treatment of chronic conditions such as diabetes is holistic and takes into account the functions of all body systems. This concept is also reflected in healthcare models that emphasize the importance of taking care of the whole organism while treating a disease of a distinct organ or system.
The micro and macro-cosmos can be used to bridge the gap between healthcare professionals and holistic medicine. However, this unity is subject to various environmental hindrances. For example, the specifics of the world surrounding us influence the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat among other factors. Therefore, the holistic care model should include not only care about all of the body systems but also care about nature systems. Diabetes consultants have to confront these realities when they are seeking holistic interventions against diabetes. One possible approach to creating the body-soul link in the holistic management of diabetes is to ensure that those patients adhere to a healthy diet consisting of organic products to prevent and lessen the manifestations of condition. However, the diabetes consultants’ access to a patient’s dietary provisions is limited to a certain extent. Under holistic diabetes management, a healthcare professional can solve the problem of micro and macro-cosmos by creating a ‘macro-cosmos’ environment where patients and diabetes consultants operate in the same realm. An environmental factor that has often contributed towards a higher prevalence of Diabetes is air pollution (Shrivastava and Ramasamy 1). Under a macrocosmic environment, patients would voluntary engage in the reversal of this condition. However, under a micro-cosmos the doctors would be expected to treat the ‘symptoms’ of air pollution without a regard for the environment.
Holistic Training Programs for Diabetes Consultants
Primary healthcare professionals realize that the available training avenues do not address the true nature of diabetes. This quagmire exacerbates the problem of diabetes consultants lacking access to holistic tools of diabetes-prevention. Diabetes is a multi-factorial ailment that affects several spheres of a patient’s life. Furthermore, diabetes training “requires a more holistic approach that goes beyond glucose, and includes careful management of other risk factors” (Crenshaw 1512). It is also important to note that not all the professionals who have been tasked with diabetes’ prevention and management have adopted a holistic approach. The gap between holistic and mainstream medicine creates a division between healthcare professionals. The fact that adoption of the holistic approach in the management of diabetes does not usually feature in mainstream medical training means that most holistic-oriented diabetes consultants are considered as rebels. Furthermore, most patients work from a rigid point-of-information through statistics that mostly indicate that “people with diabetes who maintain a normal blood pressure reading can reduce their chances for complications of the eyes, kidneys and nerves by about 33%, as well as their risk for cardiovascular disease by up to 50%” (Shrivastava and Ramasamy 1). Consequently, most diabetes patients and professionals consider holistic prevention to be a ‘second level’ course of treatment. It is also important to note that holistic treatment therapies and training modalities for other diseases have had a more positive adoption among patients. Diabetes treatment has however lagged behind in the efforts to adopt a holistic human image in its management. This problem can be addressed through the holistic training of primary healthcare professionals. Primary holistic training of diabetes managers will prevent holism from being regarded as ‘second-class’ medicine.
The pressure to adopt a holistic approach in diabetes training has mostly occurred as part of sweeping reforms in the healthcare industry. The modern healthcare industry is mainly driven by a model of ‘outcome-based care’. Therefore, patient results are the main determinants of policies regarding diabetes training and management. All these factors have necessitated the gradual shift towards a more holistic approach in diabetes management. One of the available avenues for incorporating the holistic human image is in disease management programs. Currently, there are few holistic disease-management programs that go beyond glycaemia-control in the management of diabetes. Primary and secondary training can be used to prioritize the prevention of conditions that are associated with diabetes such as cardio and micro-vascular issues. Reduction of risk factors is often reiterated in the management stage of diabetes and not the training stages. Nevertheless, there are various avenues of incorporating holistic training through ‘guideline-recommended goals’. This approach would be effective on both a primary training level (by creating awareness amongst physicians) and a secondary level (where patients are able to identify diabetes-related complications even before they occur).
It is important to recognize that some of the available methods of diabetes training feature quite generic methodologies. In addition, the training guidelines are centered on self-management and not lifelong learning techniques. Diabetes consultants would benefit more from lifelong learning as opposed to self-management training tactics. There is scarce research that can reveal the benefits of both lifelong learning and holistic-based diabetes training. In addition, the awareness of the lifelong training approach is low and it tends to be ignored by the major health stakeholders. Some of the other organizations that cater for the secondary training of other diseases have voluntarily adopted a holistic approach. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program is an example of a secondary training organization that has incorporated the holistic human image in their guidelines to clinicians. The lifelong learning that is associated with the training of asthma experts is easily passed on to patients and the community as a whole. This continuity is lacking in the management and prevention of diabetes. On most occasions, the expertise of diabetes consultants begins where the efforts of mainstream medicine diabetes-prevention end. This gap requires can be eliminated through the lifelong training approach. Consequently, when clinicians adopt a holistic approach in the treatment of diabetes, they should be able to do so from a point of information. Most of the training materials that can be sought after by physicians only come from tertiary-training organizations. From the example that is provided by the Asthma organization, it is clear that a holistic training regimen cannot interfere with good treatment practices. It is also important to note that most of the current diabetes training materials that lean towards a holistic human image only provide tailored guidelines that are not completely holistic. Training that adheres to lifelong learning is the solution to most of the divisions between holistic medicine and diabetes consultants.
A holistic training approach in reference to diabetes has also failed to focus on the role that can be played by the practitioners. Physicians and other practitioners are solely responsible for the “provision of comprehensive and continuing care to every individual seeking medical care, with contextual consideration for their patients’ families, communities, and cultures, whilst always respecting patient autonomy” (Phelps 131). Therefore, the practitioners play a central role in the holistic management and prevention of diabetes. Nevertheless, the role of the physician as the link between patients, communities, families, and culture is largely ignored during the training stages. Physicians who employ holistic practices only rely on their cumulated practical knowledge in the management of diabetes. A holistic diabetes training approach towards prospective practitioners has the potential to instill a wide worldview among diabetes consultants. Consequently, the training can incorporate psychological, physical, social, existential, and spiritual factors that can be utilized in the holistic self-management of diabetes. On the other hand, exercising holistic training has the capacity to improve lifelong learning among practitioners. Holistic training should begin at the primary levels where practitioners start to form a vision of their careers and professions.
Currently, a division exists between what is termed as ‘mainstream medicine’ on one side, and ‘alternative medicine’ on the other. These types of divisions mostly stem from the training methods that most professionals practice. For example, most of the physicians that adopt a holistic approach to wellbeing often shun mainstream medicine with the view of creating a clear demarcation. This situation underlines the fact that holistic diabetes training is not often considered a ‘wholesome’ practice. The scarcity of evidence-based holistic training data is also contributing to the lack of holistic self-management practices. This scenario indicates that the only way for diabetes consultants to move forward with holistic training in diabetes is to find sound alternatives to glucose-control as a means of management.
The New Order in Holistic Diabetes Management
There are a few major approaches within the biological anthropology that are currently attempting to explain the nature of humans as biological organisms, particularly the interaction between the spiritual and biological aspects, the interconnection between mind and body. Those approaches can roughly be divided into two groups, one of which is inclining towards reductionism and simplification while the other is viewing the complexities of mind-body relations as the unique human feature (McKinnon and Silverman 181). Even though the reductive oversimplification is not now widely spread in the approaches to anthropological studies, it is important for medical professionals not to reduce the medical conditions to a purely biological level. Nevertheless, diabetes as a chronic condition requires adequate self-management to an extent where individuals who have been diagnosed with the condition can be engaged with various aspects of daily living. Overall success in diabetes self-management successfully depends on economic, social, psychological, and other factors of patient’s lives. The diabetes consultants’ inability to access holism in regards to disease management is adversely affected by the aforementioned factors. To bridge this gap, diabetes consultants should have a wholesome understanding of the factors that shape the human image.
Contemporary diabetes treatment is primarily related to the dietary and lifestyle self-management. In this context, it is clear that the complex humanistic approach is directed to the wider range of the issues that are concerned with diabetes. The input of diabetes consultants at the treatment stage of diabetes can be both vital and redundant to some extent. At this stage, diabetes cannot be cured. In addition, the condition only appears to create physical, social, and psychological discomfort among the people diagnosed with it. When diabetes consultants dispense lifestyle-awareness among patients, they make them feel more humane and more included in their social circles. With the implementation of self-management that is spearheaded by qualified diabetes-consultants, it is possible to change the attitude of those who have diabetes and the public’s attitude towards it.
Quite often, it is the diseases and pains that go alongside diabetes and the vulnerabilities that stand in the way of normal life of the patients more than the condition itself. Based on the humanistic image approach to self-management, diabetes experts can push the holistic-management agenda by introducing not only the physical side of the new lifestyle but also the spiritual and psychological relief that the holistic medicine can provide. The sudden introduction of a string ban on certain foods and the obligation to exercise for those who are not used to the healthy living is just another social stress that goes along with the disease. On the other hand, mindfulness meditation is spiritual practice whose benefits are manifested through a decrease in painful diabetic neuropathy (Teixeira 280). Apart from meditation, modern diabetes consultants employ many other practices, including different types of yoga, visualization. Some of these practices date back to ancient civilizations while others are borrowed from psychoanalysis. Nevertheless, healthcare consultants employ these tactics because they provide “positive biological feedback that unifies mind and body, which is the main principle in holistic care” (Chriswell and Serlin 662).
Solutions to Gaps in Holistic Diabetes Management
There are various examples of collaborative efforts between various diabetes consultants with the view of attaining holism. The Diabetes Education Engagement Program (DEEP) is another attempt at institutionalizing holistic training practices. DEEP aims to incorporate the holistic human image in diabetes by invoking commonsense. Fusing commonsense with disease management is a largely new concept. Under this holistic approach, the stakeholders align their healthcare goals with the available resources. The program also aims to eliminate unrealistic goals and fight diabetes from a ‘philosophical’ viewpoint. One of the most influential holistic training materials under DEEP is the Diabetes Patient Journey. This material “highlights clinical considerations and best practices for patients with diabetes, emphasizing a standardized, team-based approach” (Anderson and Funnell 110). DEEP’s Diabetes Patient Journey is considered the most holistic diabetes training material that is currently in circulation.
The overall management and prevention of diabetes can be enhanced through the implementation of holistic learning. The condition has various issues that challenge the validity of the current prevention methods. One perennial threat to the success of holistic medicine is that there is a gap that exists between diabetes consultants and tools of holism. A holistic learning approach is set to reduce instances of lack of efficient diabetes management whilst improving the quality of life of patients and the overall productivity of the society. Holistic medicine also contributes to the humanistic image since it does not reduce the patients with diabetes to purely biological elements.
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