The term holistic simply means to take a 'whole' approach. In medicine today your doctor tends to only focus on one small area of your health and only tries to relieve the symptoms, very often completely overlooking the cause.
For example, if you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor will no doubt prescribe a blood pressure lowering prescription drug. More often than not this medicine will have moderate to severe side effects.
Since the medicine only treats the symptoms, and not the cause, you will have to continue to take it for an extended period of time. Sometimes taking a medication for a long period of time can make the side effects worse, which will often lead to the need to take medication to cure the side effects!
Holistic methods, on the other hand, will not just focus on your high blood pressure. Instead it will look at all aspects of your lifestyle: nutrition, physical, emotional, spiritual, environmental, etc. It will try to solve the root cause of your problem instead of just help you deal with the symptoms.
The holistic approach doesn't rule out the use of prescription drugs but it does encourage trying natural methods first. Harsh drugs are only used as a last resort.
Those who practice holistic methods of health care, also encourage full participation and responsibility for their own health care by their patients. They don't condone a bad lifestyle by their patient and then just giving the patient a drug to help alleviate the symptoms of an ailment directly related to those poor lifestyle choices.
Usually a holistic practitioner will try to help their patients achieve more balance between their physical, emotional, environmental, and spiritual lives to promote better overall health. It's about integrating the mind and body and how they can become balanced for better overall health.
Many different approaches are grouped together under the holistic name, you've no doubt heard of many of them: acupuncture, yoga, massage, meditation, and aromatherapy are some of the most well known.
Many people use these methods even when they don't have an illness. The idea is to prevent illness and not just cure one. That is another aspect of holistic methods of treatment that sets it apart from 'mainstream' medicine which only worries about curing a problem and not nearly as much about prevention.
If you are concerned about the health and well being of you and your family you owe it to yourself to consider implementing holistic medicine practices into your life today. Don't wait until there is a problem, by starting now you may very well be able to prevent any illnesses from occurring in the first place.