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Holistic Medicine: Making the Connection

Forty + years ago, we were greeted with a medical philosophy that invited us to connect, rather than dissect our techniques for healing of mind, body, and spirit– holistic medicine. The Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM) division of the National Institute of Health (NIH) defines the goal of holistic medicine as a cooperative way to achieve optimal health using alternative non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical techniques, as well as conventional drugs and surgery, if needed. Holistic therapy includes anything from acupuncture, diet/herb-based therapy, or exercise, to energy, hypnosis, or massage.

Holistic medicine illustrates that mind, body, and spirit are not separate entities; they influence each other and have an effect on our total well being. Dr. Deborah Carter, Naturopathic Physician of The Shoals Natural Healthcare Center, says that “creat(ion)” is the common denominator of all three entities of holistic medicine.

The mind is a fertile frontier for whole health.  According to Dr. Carter, “Thoughts create and play an important part on our physical body. They can have an influence on our hormones and chemistry and create negative or positive effects on the body.”  This gives credence to the adage, “What we believe, we can achieve.”  For instance, many physically disabled people remain active; while others give in to their negative perception of their condition, and become stagnant.

Of course, stress and other environmental factors also play a role in what our bodies create, which is why Dr. Carter indicates, “Cause is the main parameter the holistic practitioner examines.  (The cause of the illness) could be emotional, spiritual, or physical. Sometimes it is necessary to treat the mother, when the child is ill.” She points out that finding ways to relieve stress and improve nutrition can enable us to shape our health goals. For example, Dr. Carter in conjunction with the Colbert County Extension Program offers a Natural Detoxification program, which teaches people to safely detox naturally with foods. Many holistic practitioners are now recommending daily meditation and relaxing exercises such as Yoga to minimize stress of mind and body. Life becomes a “balancing act,” according to Carter.  Where does spirit enter the holistic triangle?

According to Dr. Carter, “the spiritual part is your energetic self; the part you cannot touch; the part that only the sense of feeling can touch; the communicator of your soul’s journey.”  While in this indication, the “spirit” is not religious, (unless the patient is,) Carter says that some conventional doctors are urging patients to pray; some even praying with their patients. “Loma Linda University Medical Center, in California, teaches their doctors to pray with patients, and they are big on nutrition.” Trained to search for both cause and treatment, Carter subscribes to working in conjunction with medical doctors for the total wellness of patients.

Accredited naturopathic physicians are trained as holistic practitioners, and training includes Western and Eastern medicine.  However, Dr. Carter acknowledges all holistic and medical practitioners who serve the intention of total wellness for patients.  “We all work together;” a holistic approach for whole health.

Image:  Spring Herb Salve from Mothering Herbs


Vicki Goldston Founder, Editor-in-Chief


Originally from Chicago, Vicki Goldston, (Victorine), now calls  Florence, AL, the Shoals area, home.  She has three children, (including a son-in-love), and 3 grand children, all who add texture to the fabric of her life.

Teaching Conscious Living through God Within You, Vicki is the Pastor Emeritus of Living Spirit Church, an Independent,  New Thought ministry, in Florence, AL. Minister Vicki is an Inspirational Speaker;  a Contributing Author of a Chicken Soup book, The Miracle of Tithing, by Mark Victor Hansen; and the author of her own book, Be S.A.F.E. (Still, Aware, Faithful, and Excellent).  She is the president of Camp Goldston Publishing, LLC. and the founder of Garden Spices Magazine. She facilitates her workshop, Abundance Therapy, and is the Founder/Facilitator of Revelations:  A Ministry.  She is also a member of the African Dance Troupe, POZA and The C.O.R.E. Drummers. 

Her slogan is: “It’s all good/God” and Minister Vicki believes “love” has the final word.


-Dr. Deborah Carter is a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in private Practice at the Shoals Natural Healthcare Center located in Muscle Shoals, AL. Her specialty is internal family natural medicine. Over the past 16 years, Dr. Carter has given lectures and workshops to groups and organizations in the area and state on complementary/alternative and preventive medicines. She also coordinate a biannual Natural Detoxification Program for the community and is founder and director of the CORE Center which is a nonprofit human potential center. Dr. carter’s education background: Talladega College, (B.A.-Chemistry), Auburn University,(M.S.-Medicinal Chemistry, and National College of Naturopathic Medicine,(N.D.-Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.)

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