Holistic health care has always been a popular option for healing in ancient Indian, Chinese and Greek societies. Recently, complementary and alternative medicine has been adopted by people in the US as a popular approach for treating both physical and mental conditions. Let’s explore how the holistic approach differs from that of traditional western medicine.
What is Holistic Health?
The holistic health deals with overall health and overall well being.
Holistic health is the complete care of oneself including physical, mental and spiritual well being. It’s the extensive care of your body, mind and soul. In this approach it is considered that each aspect is important and interconnected for the balanced functioning of an individual.
It focuses on the quality of life one must lead to achieve optimal health. Holistic health practitioners believe in alternative therapies that are based on holistic medicine, diet and exercise.
Holistic health care
Holistic health care is the systematic treatment of the body, mind and spirit by merging Eastern and Western medicine. It’s an extensive way of thinking about health. You can say, it is a form of healing by incorporating a healthy way of living. The holistic practitioners want to reduce stress and have the absence of diseases in their lives.
Holistic approach to health
It is actually an approach towards life. When you take this approach you have to understand that sound physical health is impossible without achieving optimal mental health. Simply put, you start practicing holistic living.
When you realize that our mind, body and spirit are interconnected you would then opt for the holistic approach. To follow this method you have to acknowledge that the different aspects of life have an effect on our emotional health. You will be conscious of your actions in daily life. The food you eat, type of activities you do, whether you exercise or not – all of that has an impact on your health.
To have holistic health you have to also take care of your spiritual health. You would definitely want to start some meditative practices if you are not doing it already. Also, foods are significant in this approach. So, you would want to practice healthy eating.
Holistic approach to health is a combination of practices to make you healthier, feel better and live longer.
Holistic health and wellness
Holistic health and wellness is a healing journey that includes certain choices and lifestyle changes.
The holistic doctor would suggest you to make certain changes in these following areas:
- Physical fitness
If you truly want to heal from within you have to take care of these factors. It is mandatory to change your diet if you are serious about holistic health and wellness. The people you interact with are also important because they can have an effect on your mental health.
How you behave or react to outside influences can also have a toll on your health. Your intimate relationships, physical fitness and mindset are the other crucial factors that control your wellbeing.
What Does It Mean by Holistic Health?
Before reaching out to a holistic practitioner, a patient must understand that this healthcare involves equal participation of the patient in curing himself. The aim here is to make changes to lifestyle so that one can achieve physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Holistic healthcare isn’t about treating any particular illness or a specific body part. Rather, it looks at the prevention of diseases by analyzing a person’s lifestyle. It also takes into account how he or she interacts with the immediate surroundings. This concept embodies the connection between the body, mind, and spirit ensuring that they are perfectly healthy. With this, the care-receiver accepts more responsibility towards their well-being. Thus, making more proper choices.
And that’s why, in the urge to stay healthy, people usually focus on a wholesome lifestyle. They depend on physical exercises and diet for body care. However, such an approach, yet, does not guarantee health. A person might end up ignoring the mental and emotional well-being. Or the body might fail to realize that both body and mind are under duress.
A mentally stressed person might overlook the body’s physical well-being. Thus, a body with pain will struggle to get adequate hours of sleep, resulting in a tired mind. That’s why the body and mind have to play a complementary role to achieve optimal health. And that’s the whole objective of holistic health!
Amidst this, holistic practitioners also play a key role. According to them, a person can achieve optimal health by maintaining a balance in life. Besides, they also believe that the body comprises interdependent parts. If one body part is not functioning, other body parts might get affected. Such a condition creates an imbalance in the person – emotional, spiritual, or physical. Thus, hurting the health of the person. So, the doctor and the patient play a complementary role. Their joint efforts help in a successful healing process.
What Are the Principles of Holistic Medicine?
Holistic healthcare does not depend on one line of therapy/ treatment. Rather it consists of the use of many therapies. It could be alternative medicines, dietary changes, or even counseling. Practitioners also involve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) defines health merely the absence of disease. Rather it is a balanced state of mind, body, and spirit. Unlike western medicine, holistic treatment looks for a solution beyond invasive cure. A practitioner uses all forms of healthcare, including spiritual counseling.
Alongside this, the treatment comprises everything from conventional medication to alternative therapies. A patient with specific problems is not prescribed medications. Rather they investigate the potential factors that might have triggered the problem. It could be diet, health problems, stress, sleeping habits, or personal issues. The treatment would involve drugs to relieve symptoms, and also some lifestyle modifications. Such a dual approach prevents the symptoms from recurring.
5 Aspects of the Patient the AHHA Analyses?
Unconditional love and support is the most potent healer for practitioners. The approach also emphasizes that it helps a person in handling his well-being and health.
Well, following are the remaining principles of holistic health:
- We all have innate healing power.
- A person is not an embodiment of the disease.
The patient must be open to making changes to his lifestyle, food habits, and other measures as suggested by the doctor. It includes every aspect of a person’s life using different health care practices.
The treatment of a condition does not alleviate the symptoms. Rather removes it from the roots. So, this approach goes into the root cause of a problem.
What Are the Types of Treatment Involved?
Holistic treatment can be a combination of therapies, and dietary changes. At times it can involve invasive procedures if required. Lifestyle changes suggested are usually for an extended period.
Practitioners use alternative medicines and therapies. The care-receiver should take responsibility for their well-being and achieve the best health. Depending on the training and expertise of the practitioner, the treatment may include the following:
- Educating the patient about lifestyle changes and self-care to improve well-being. The doctor recommends exercise, diet, psychotherapy, spiritual counseling, and much more.
- Western medicine and surgical procedures.
- Implementation of alternative and complementary therapies. Then be it Chiropractic care, Acupuncture, Massage therapy, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Ayurveda, and others.
- For mental health, the patient might need to take up yoga and meditation.
How to Choose the Best Holistic Health Practitioner?
People must understand that there are hundreds of therapies. Also, there are newer forms and variations of therapies under this approach. This includes Naturopathy, Osteopathy, Homeopathy, Ayurveda, massage therapy, Aromatherapy, herbal therapy, and Chiropractic. But before choosing your holistic healthcare provider, go through this checklist:
Do not visit any random practitioner
Research before deciding on the practitioner. Before making any decision, get recommendations from someone you can trust. You can also contact a credible health organization for advice.
Undertake some homework
You should get an idea about the experience, training, and doctor’s expertise. Check the doctor’s association with hospital and professional organizations, before visiting him. Also, check the practitioner’s certification in holistic medicine. Evaluate whether he/she has acquired the certification from a credible medical board. Also, the line of treatment or alternative therapy should match the patient’s views.
The doctor should be a good listener
Ensure that the doctor is taking enough time to understand your problems. Furthermore, offering a proper solution.
The provider should offer you alternative options. Check if the wellness plan goes beyond pills. Make sure that the practitioner examines all the lifestyle factors. Especially the ones that contribute to your illness.
Why has holistic healthcare become so popular?
Reports state that many are using complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) in America. Rather a study highlights that about 40 percent of Americans have opted for CAM. While it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of any treatment. Yet, the growing popularity could be beyond the effectiveness of treatment.
- This brand of healthcare does not ignore allopathic treatment. Rather AHHA prescribes integrative use of allopathic medicine and alternative approaches. That involves the best of both methods.
- It might be more cost-effective than invasive surgeries. It is also less painful.
- Holistic treatment is safe. Yet, one cannot guarantee that all herbs used are safe.
- A patient has the option to try many therapies or treatments.
- Doctors do accept the benefits of alternative therapies. That’s why they allow parallel use of holistic treatments along with allopathic medicine.
Ways to attain holistic health
If you are looking for ways to obtain sound health for your mind, body, and spirit, you are in luck.
Here we are going to give you 12 ways to attain holistic health.
The first step towards achieving overall good health is by learning to breathe properly. Meditation helps in controlling the breaths and relaxes your body and mind. If you practice meditation on a daily basis you would be able to take control of stress and anger.
2. Eat healthy
Holistic health starts with eating the right food. Eliminate the junk food and start eating fresh and nutritious items. Control your diet to achieve an optimal, disease-free body.
3. Hydrate your body
Drink a lot of water to rejuvenate your body cells. Just as you need the right food, you also require an appropriate quantity of water in your body. The water balance in your body has an influence in your health and mood.
A criteria for good health is fitness. If you do not stretch your body enough it becomes lethargic and prone to ailments. So, to achieve optimal health, start exercising every day. You can join a gym or go for a jog every morning. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. What’s important is that you start flexing your muscles daily.
5. Think positively
Mind has a big role in the holistic approach. If you want to attain holistic health, start working on your mindset. Think positive thoughts. Your thoughts and feelings have an effect on your physical health.
6. Practice gratitude
Expressing gratitude opens your heart. When you appreciate everything in your life, you open the door to health and happiness.
7. Spend time alone
You need to quietly reflect on your life. Take a break from social media. Switch off your gadgets and spend time alone. Go for a walk, read a book, journal your thoughts. You need to ground yourself, time to time. This is good for your mind and body.
We are social beings. But most of us do not get the time to meet up with our friends or spend quality time with our family because of work pressure. The thing is, you have to compartmentalize your personal life and work. Catch up with old friends, have a family get-together every month. The more you will interact with your loved ones the more you will heal from inside out.
9. Practice mindfulness
Make it a habit to observe your actions. Stay in the moment. Stop multitasking all the time. Don’t browse your phone while having breakfast. Don’t watch Netflix while having dinner. Eat your food mindfully. Do things while focusing on that.
10. Wake up early
An easy way to improve your health is by waking up early every morning. As you become an early riser your health improves as a result.
11. Surround yourself with positivity
Our environment has an immediate impact on our physical and mental health. Your closest friends, family and co-workers can destroy your health. Choose the right people who are happy and encouraging in nature.
You can always change your friends or your workplace. But maybe it’s not possible to do that with your family. If you have toxic family members try to ignore them. Spend less time with them because people around you can really make or break your life.
12. Laugh a lot
Laughter releases endorphins that eases out pain and makes us feel good. Your mood can be changed even by faking a laugh! Laughter is a great therapy for your mind. It’s an inexpensive tool for achieving holistic health.
Watch this video on Holistic approach to Mental Health treatment
Holistic health quotes
1. “Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”— Winston Churchill
2. “Your connection to yourself is also your connection to the divine. The more you are connected to yourself, the more you are connected to the divine. They are one and the same.”— Renae A. Sauter
3. “A vibrant body, a radiant mind, a loving heart, and an honorable life.”— Stefan Emunds
4. “In understanding the basics of digestion, you’ll discover who’s in charge. Here’s a hint. It’s not you.”— Nancy Mure
5. “Be good to your body, and your body will be good to you.”— JC Paulino
6. “The human body has been designed to resist an infinite number of changes and attacks brought about by its environment. The secret of good health lies in successful adjustment to changing stresses on the body.”— Harry J. Johnson
7. “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patients in care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”— Thomas Edison
8. “Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account.”— Anne Wilson Schaef
9. “It is health that is the real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver.”— Mahatma Gandhi
10 “Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos- the trees, the clouds, everything.”— Thich Nhat Hanh
More people are likely to embrace holistic healthcare in the coming years. Besides, AHHA and other associations are striving hard to make it more popular. They are also trying to develop local centers. Critiques of alternative therapies argue that naturopathy “doctors” might not be “trained” enough. Also, therapy might not be complementary to another line of treatment.
But a lot remains “unproven.” Besides, AHHA does not recommend to ignore or abandon western medicines. Instead, patients must make their choice after doing enough research.
A Psychologist with a master's degree in Psychology, a former school psychologist, and a teacher by profession Chandrani loves to live life simply and happily. She is an avid reader and a keen observer. Writing has always been a passion for her, since her school days. It helps to de-stress and keeps her mentally agile. Pursuing a career in writing was a chance occurrence when she started to pen down her thoughts and experiences for a few childcare and parenting websites. Her lovable niche includes mental health, parenting, childcare, and self-improvement. She is here to share her thoughts and experiences and enrich the lives of few if not many.