Holistic Medicine

I am grateful for the opportunity to describe my approach to holistic medicine to you.  I write from the perspective of a Co-Chair of the Past Presidents Council of the Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine, a teacher and practicing holistic physician since 1991.  

Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses the care of the whole person; body, mind and spirit.  It is a health-based practice that helps one achieve optimal health in all spheres of one's being; physical, emotional, mental, environmental, social and spiritual.

How does it work for you?

It starts with a comprehensive evaluation of the whole person.  This includes what health concerns you have; what they mean to you and how they are affecting you; what illness and injuries you have had or now experience; what is the level of functioning of your body systems; what illnesses/problems are in your family; what is your emotional and mental state; what is your life and social experience; what environments do you live and work in; what are your daily habits including, diet, exercise, sleep, meditation and spiritual practice; what herbs, supplements and medications do you use; what sensitivities and allergies do you have; and what prior evaluations and treatments were done, and what worked and what did not.

After the health history/life story is obtained, further information is gleaned from a complete physical exam. This includes a standard medical exam and other appropriate assessments, such as a detailed osteopathic/ structural exam and whatever else is indicated by your situation e.g some classical Chinese medicine evaluation.

At this point, a whole systems diagnosis is made and discussed in partnership with the client. If further testing is needed to clarify a diagnosis or help define what the best treatment would be, this also is discussed and arranged. Together we the develop a therapeutic plan to address all the relevant issues.

Throughout this process, it is critical to follow certain principles. The American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA), which was founded in 1978, codified the following principles to follow to ensure optimal results.

These include:

Whole Person

Illness is viewed as a manifestation of a dysfunction of the whole person or system they live in rather than an isolated event or disconnected piece.  It is more important to establish the unique characteristics of the person who has the health problem than it is to focus exclusively on identifying symptoms and diseases.

Listen to the Client

The client's needs and insights are just as important as the physician's. There is no better source of information than the source itself.

Relationship-Centered Care

The quality of the relationship is a major determinant of healing outcomes. Active, conscious participation is needed from all parties to ensure an optimal therapeutic relationship.

Optimal Health

Striving to attain optimal functioning and balance in all spheres of one’s being. This is much more than the absence of a diseases or treating a medical diagnosis.

Prevention

Promoting healthy life choices and screening for risk factors that predispose one to health problems in the future. This is more cost effective than waiting for diseases to manifest and then trying to manage them.

Focus on Cause

Discern and address problems as close to their cause as possible. This is much more effective than merely treating symptoms.

Innate Healing Power

We all have incredible intrinsic powers of healing in our bodies, minds and spirits. These are to be evoked and utilized as much as possible.

Use All Effective and Safe Diagnostic and Treatment Options

If a treatment is effective, safe, of reasonable cost and makes sense to the client and physician, it is a good option. There is no room for dogma or anything else that stands in the way of healing and compassion. Treatments from all health systems, including medication and surgery, are good options when appropriate.

Walk the Talk

Holistic physicians must walk their talk and be a living example of practicing holism in everyday life.

Unconditional Love

This is life's most powerful medicine.  Holistic physicians live an example of unconditional love for their clients, themselves and their colleagues.

The Moral of the Story

As you can see there is much more to holistic medicine than conventional, alternative and complementary treatments. It is a way of looking at the world, as well as practicing the best quality medicine we are able to in the moment. From my viewpoint, holistic medicine is what all healthcare professionals would ideally be practicing.

To Your Best Health,
Mark L. Hoch, MD

"Dr Hoch has been our family doctor for over three years. In all my years, I have never felt so cared for or cared about by a doctor as I have with Dr Hoch. He makes us feel like we are his only patient when we’re with him. Dr Hoch has such a diverse background as an MD, DO, and integrative medicine and he combines the best of all worlds in treating us. Add to that his warm and insightful approach to each patient, and I can’t imagine having a better health care provider. We are blessed to have him enriching our lives. Nina Miller, his assistant, is as warm and caring as Dr Hoch, making taking a trip to the doctor an uplifting experience all around."

Scott Wilkerson

Preventive Medicine / Wellness Medicine

Learning life skills for a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise, stress management, healthy sleep, creating and living in healthy environments, understanding emotions, mental processes, social relationships and spiritual awareness.

Risk factor assessment for common chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Working with you to develop customized therapeutic plans utilizing lifestyle and other interventions to improve and maintain health and prevent disease.

Nutritional Medicine and Western Herbal Medicine:

Diet, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, and other nutritional supplements are used to optimize cellular metabolic functioning and organ function.  These therapies are integrated into your care plan after your health concerns are assessed.  Recommendations are based on scientific studies and extensive clinical experience with thousands of patients in several multi-disciplinary clinical settings.

Conditions treated nutritionally:

High cholesterol, diabetes / metabolic syndrome, congestive heart failure, Irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, food allergies, hypoglycemia, osteoporosis, adrenal exhaustion and chronic fatigue, Immune support for acute infections.

Detoxification:

Nutritional and other support used to optimize liver, intestinal, kidney and cellular functioning compromised by exposure to heavy metals (lead, mercury), solvents, and other chemicals.

Mind / Body Medicine:

Use of guided imaging, meditation, stress reduction, counseling, breathing exercises and Chinese Qi gong (Chi kung) to enhance health, manage stress and treat various health conditions.

Energetic Approaches to Healing:

Many of the world’s healing traditions see the body/mind/spirit as an energy system that extends beyond the biochemistry and physical structure of the body. Energetic approaches to movement, breathing, and meditation exercises from Chinese Qi gong and other traditions are utilized within the framework of your own values and life experience to optimize health and treat medical problems.

Osteopathic Medicine

Osteopathic medicine was developed by Andrew Taylor Still, M.D. in the Midwestern United States in the late 1800’s.

Dr. Still promoted the concept that body structure and body function are intimately related. Healthy alignment of the body allows the blood to nourish the tissues and remove waste products, for the nervous system to function properly, and for us to move efficiently.

Too often structural imbalances are undiagnosed even though they are common causes of pain, restricted movement, feeling unwell, and eventually diseases.  Physicians familiar with the relationship between body structure and function are often able to go beyond treating symptoms by addressing the root cause of health problems.

The goal of osteopathic treatment is to help you to be able to do the activities you want with maximum function and comfort and minimal effort.

Dr. Hoch works with the body and our in born self-correcting mechanisms to help it realign itself rather than forcing tissues back into place. This approach often gives lasting results that do not require ongoing visits.

Andrew Taylor Still, MD

What People Are Saying

"I have been a patient of Dr. Hoch for a couple of years now.  He has been a godsend to me. His knowledge of the neuromuscular intricacies of the body have been the key to healing. He is a compassionate and highly knowledgeable doctor who listens to his patient with the mutual goal of wellness. My sincere appreciation to Dr. Hoch and his staff."

Jacqueline Johnson

Conditions treated osteopathically:

Back pain, neck pain, sciatica, other joint pain, TMJ, tension headaches, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis (heel spurs), rib pain, and scoliosis.

Injuries; motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, sprains, concussions, healing after fractures, and repetitive strain injuries.

When a structural component is found on exam these conditions can also be treated;

Migraine headaches, facial pain, menstrual cramps, and

GI problems including; heart burn, reflux, constipation, gall bladder problems, and recurrent diverticulitis.

Infant conditions treated osteopathically:

Birth trauma, misshapen head, colic, reflux, torticollis, feeding problems due to infant neck issues, plagiocephaly and brachial plexus injury.

Childhood Conditions treated osteopathically:

Injuries, falls, head trauma, leg alignment problems, scoliosis, and recurrent ear infections when there is a biomechanical component.  Jaw alignment problems, and enhancing the effectiveness of orthodontic work.

Examples of Osteopathic Treatment Modalities

Dr. Hoch Teaching Osteopathic Medicine at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine
Cranial Osteopathy
Cranial Osteopathy is based on perceiving and working with the inherent motion in the brain, spinal cord, and cerebrospinal fluid that is transmitted through the body including through the bones of the skull and face. It started with the work of William Garner Sutherland, DO who developed and taught the cranial concept from 1899 to 1955. The presence and action of the motion Dr. Sutherland described has been validated by over 100 years of successful treatment and several scientific studies including moving picture MRI scans and Laser experiments. Cranial osteopathy is most often used to treat problems of the skull, face and TMJ but can also be helpful in treating the whole body. It is a very gentle technique that uses light touch.
Myofascial release and Neurofascal release
Myofascial release and Neurofascal release are used to correct abnormal tension and alignment in the connective tissue around the muscles and the web of connective tissue that supports the joints and organs. Dr. Hoch developed a particular form of this modality that can very quickly diagnose and treat the strain patterns/dysfunctions in the connective tissue alignment of the limbs, hands to shoulders and feet to hips. It can also be used in the neck, chest, abdomen and back.
Visceral osteopathy
Visceral osteopathy is used to assist the health and functioning of the internal organs including releasing restriction after abdominal surgery and improving gall bladder, lung, stomach, intestinal and bladder function.
Joint, Tendon, Ligament and Bone Healing Techniques
Other techniques include various methods of releasing joint restrictions, and balancing tendon and ligament alignment and releasing injuries in bones
Self-Care Education
Counseling on posture, work station ergonomics, diet, and individualized exercise programs to maximize health and treatment benefits. Dr. Hoch is a great believer in giving you self-care skills to get healthy more quickly and stay healthy.

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390 A French Broad Ave
Asheville, NC 28801

Mark Hoch, MD