The Principles of New (Holistic) Medicine Holistic physicians embrace a variety of safe, effective diagnostic and treatment options, including: a) education for lifestyle changes and self-care; b) complementary diagnostic and treatment approaches; and c) conventional drugs and surgery. Searching for the underlying causes of disease is preferable to treating symptoms alone. Holistic physicians expend as much effort in establishing what kind of patient has a disease as they do in establishing what kind of disease a patient has. Prevention is preferable to treatment and is usually more cost-effective. The most cost-effective approach evokes the patient's own innate healing capacities. Illness is viewed as a manifestation of a dysfunction of the whole person, not as an isolated event.