What is holistic health?

by | Nov 13, 2023 | general health

Holistic Health focuses on the entire person. Rather than treating one aspect of the body, it looks at how each area affects the others. For example, health conditions don’t affect just one body part. With a holistic approach to health, we can see a relationship between the mind and the body. Stress impacts our mental state, which impacts our immune system, which impacts our digestion, etc.

A holistic approach to health will allow you to achieve better overall wellness. You’ll feel healthier, happier, and more confident about yourself.

Holism is not a new concept. But these ancient ideas are seeing a revival. This is probably because the value of having a holistic approach, that considers the mind-body connection, is becoming apparent even in modern healthcare. Especially its influence on overall well-being.

This ancient approach to life is not just based on achieving an absence of disease. Instead, it is about understanding that “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. Everything is connected. No part can work at its best without the rest. These ideas have been important in ancient healing traditions for millennia.

The Concepts of Holistic Health

Optimal health focuses on all areas of our lives, including our physical, mental, social, environmental, spiritual and emotional needs. This includes eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, managing stress, having fun, connecting with family and friends, being positive, practicing gratitude, and finding meaning in life.

When we show love to others, it helps us heal ourselves. We should treat others respectfully and with dignity. Preventing illnesses is better than curing them. We should try to avoid illnesses before they occur.

The four aspects of holistic health:

Holistic care means addressing all four aspects of health:

  • physical soundness
  • mental fitness
  • emotional state
  • spiritual wellbeing

In this holistic medicine approach, each aspect must work with the other parts, cohesively and in balance for optimal wellness. Ideally using natural approaches and preventative healthcare.

Naturopathic holistic healing

Naturopathy is an alternative medicine that is based on this holistic approach. The emphasis is on healing the whole body not just addressing symptoms. In other words, holistic therapy incorporates the physiological as well as the psychological aspects of healthiness.

Naturopathic medicine combines science and traditional folklore. It harnesses the therapeutic powers of nutritional medicine and herbal medicines as well as other forms of complementary therapies.

The philosophy of holistic therapy

Naturopathic principles of health care apply the same philosophy of holistic therapy. With a focus on holistic wellness and looking at the physical as well as the emotional and mental health of a patient.

For instance, we know that stress plays an important role in the development of health problems such as high blood pressure. In this situation, taking prescription or herbal medications, eating healthily and giving up smoking might all help, but for a holistic approach, we also need to look at the emotional and mental input. Holistic medicine, therefore, looks at the big picture, that which is visible and not visible.

Sadly, in conventional medicine, the focus is on ‘a pill for every ill’ instead of addressing what is happening for the individual. Alternative therapies are different. Holistic medicine helps people to learn how to make healthy, holistic lifestyle changes for more integrative treatment.

With this approach, individuals take more responsibility for their own overall wellness and play an active part in achieving optimal vitality. Therefore, a holistic practice offers a very empowering approach to health care.

The following healing practices are within the realms of holistic healthcare:

  • herbal medicine
  • acupuncture
  • massage therapy
  • physical therapy
  • energy work
  • chiropractic
  • yoga
  • meditation
  • nutrition

A person incorporating some of these holistic healing techniques into their regular, daily life can experience feeling well on a deeper level, which paves the way to achieving optimal health.

Achieve holistic health

Holistic medicine emphasises prevention over treatment. This type of medicine looks at the entire person, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social aspects. Holistic approaches are based on the belief that health is maintained by the body’s ability to heal itself. In addition, it recognises that many factors influence one’s overall well-being. These include genetics, lifestyle choices, environmental conditions, diet, stress levels, sleep patterns, exercise habits, etc.

Holistic treatments attend to the root cause of illness, not just its symptoms. For example, if you suffer from migraines, instead of reaching for a painkiller, you might want to consider a wide range of alternative treatments. A whole-body approach such as acupuncture treatment, meditation, yoga, or massage therapy can all offer effective treatments for a range of conditions.

Physical condition

Exercising regularly and eating a variety of healthy, nutritious foods is a basic requirement for physical health and wellbeing. As a holistic health practitioner, I also advocate for the importance of the need to sleep well and stay hydrated.

I see a lot of research about the positive power of sleep and its impact on physical, cognitive and mental health.

Emotional wellbeing

Emotional health is generally the ability to cope with and express emotions in a socially appropriate manner.

As a holistic practitioner, I can certainly say that negativity detracts from your emotional wellbeing. It can help to reduce stress and make you feel more positive if you can smile at the day. You will feel more able to deal with your emotions and the people that cause them. Concentrate on the positive. Instead of overloading yourself with tasks. Find balance by setting time aside for yourself. If you can do this, you can feel less overwhelmed and will improve your emotional health.

Be aware that your work environment has an effect on your well-being. If your job is causing you a lot of stress, consider whether this is making you miserable. It is not worth spending time in a job that causes your health to suffer.

Spiritual health

Spiritual health is a deeper subject than your religious beliefs. Spirituality includes your values in life. A big part of achieving spiritual wellness is practising gratitude. It is very common to complain about our problems and issues and to only focus on these. Being grateful can make you look at life differently. Looking at the positives in your life and not dwelling on the negatives will create a happier outlook.

There’s a wise old saying, “I complained because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.” If you can practice being grateful for what you have in life, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing depression.

Mental health

Affecting many different areas of your life, it is similar to emotional well-being because it includes your mood and your ability to handle stress. But your mental health also affects your cognitive function, your ability to sleep, and how you maintain your relationships with others. It can also affect your energy levels, motivation and your relationship with food.

Connect with like-minded people, who share your values. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Keep in contact with family but let go of toxic people that make your life miserable.

Improving your holistic wellbeing can have a profound impact on your life. Embracing this concept means you may find that you experience less stress, improved mental energy, and increased wellbeing.

Treating the Whole You

Holistic health care practitioners look at the patient as a whole being, rather than focusing solely on the disease. They consider factors such as diet, exercise, stress managementsleep habits, relationships, spirituality, and emotional well-being. Herbal medicine is an ancient form of traditional medicine and can form part of an overall holistic approach to healing.

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