What is Holistic Treatment and is it Important for Speech & Feeding Therapy?

“Holistic” has become quite the buzzword in medical spheres the past few years. And though it may be plain to most what holistic care means, what does a holistic provider actually stand for? Specifically. Is it just a an elevated word people throw around to convey trendiness? Is it important? Does it matter when it comes to your child’s speech or feeding therapy? How is it different from “non-holistic” or naturopathic care? 

What is it?

Well here is what holistic does NOT mean:

  • deficient 
  • fragmentary
  • incomplete
  • partial
  • abbreviated
  • reduced
  • scattered

Thus, the term holistic conveys completeness. Methods may vary, but what stays consistent from provider to provider, is the focus on the big picture. 

“The terms holistic or holism refers to considering the whole person, problem, or idea.  In health care, holistic treatments take the whole person into account, not just his or her symptoms.  Thus, the opposite of a holistic treatment approach to a patient would be purely symptoms-based approach, and a single symptom or small set of symptoms at that.” – Mayfield Clinic

Because holistic refers to an approach, rather than the instruments used, it could indicate naturopathic (Eastern, alternative, self-healing, etc) methods or more allopathic (Western, conventional, and orthodox, etc). Whether they follow Western or Eastern techniques, the provider can still use a holistic approach. A provider who treats holistically will tend to focus on all the following aspects of their clients:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • spirital
  • cultural
  • familial 
  • environmental 
A holistic practitioner sees all of these categories as valid, connected, and integral to healing and progress. A practitioner less concerned with holism (treating someone holistically) will tend to focus on one aspect of a person or the symptoms alone. 

Is it important?

Marymount University published an article discussing the importance of holistic care in nursing:

  • helps de-stigmatize mental health care
  • honors the body’s natural healing intelligence
  • respects cultural differences and traditional healing methods
  • teaches the value of preventative health
  • decreases the use of invasive procedures
  • sheds light on economic, social and political barriers in health
  • empowers practitioners to bring their humanity to health care
While holistic care may come at a higher financial rate, garner a longer wait list, or simply be harder to find in a small town, it is worth the effort. Holistic practitioners care deeply about lasting results and the experience of their clients. 


Holistic speech & feeding therapy

“Holistic practices are becoming more mainstream because integrative medicine address the full spectrum that makes up being human, giving people a wider reach for care” says, Avalon Malibu.

Clients who need speech or feeding therapy are rarely only receiving one kind of service, or even the same kind of service from only one provider. They typically have a team of dedicated professionals working to help them close the gap of their skills and the skills of same aged peers. Communication between these providers is integral to holistic care. Though technique and method may vary from service to service, goals should be in tune and harmonious for the client to progress. 

A real life example can be seen in a client with a speech disorder and dysphagia (difficulty or discomfort in swallowing). This client’s speech therapist will need to: 

  • take into account the support this client has at home for family meals and speech homework
  • research cultural sensitivities when it comes to menu planning for feeding therapy
  • communicate with the client’s occupational and/or physical therapist and teachers for sensory and school support
  • understand the financial limits of the family and how to make the most of the time they can afford (this could mean parent support through phone call check-ins if they cannot afford to come several times a week)
  • be in tune with the child’s mood and emotional intelligence in a session to provide them with positive experience

This process, though timely, is holistic care. It is all encompassing and leads to lasting results.


Creative Speech Therapy NYC providers are committed to this approach for all their families. Whether a client has a whole team of private practice doctors, therapists, and family members at their side, or a more limited support system – they are treated thoroughly and with care.



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