If you are looking for overall wellness you should understand that there is more to optimal health than making healthy food choices and getting enough exercise. Ancient ideas about holism are seeing a revival. So, the value of having a holistic approach, that considers the mind-body connection is becoming apparent. Especially its influence on overall wellbeing. But, what is holistic health and how can you achieve it?
In a nutshell, holistic health looks at the health of the whole person. This includes the connections between the mind, body and spirit. This approach to wellness 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 traditional forms of healing for millennia.
For better overall health and true holistic healing, we must go beyond physical health. We should learn how to balance and integrate other aspects of holistic wellness into our daily lives. A holistic approach means learning how to look at the whole person. And, then address the question of how to support what may be out of balance.
The four aspects of holistic health:
Holistic care means addressing all four aspects of health:
- physical health
- mental health
- emotional health
- spiritual health
In this holistic medicine approach, each aspect must work with the other parts, cohesively and in balance for optimal health. 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 health.
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 health, 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 a more integrative treatment.
With this approach, individuals take more responsibility for their own overall health and play an active part in achieving optimal wellness. Therefore, a holistic practice offers a very empowering approach to health care.
The following healing practices are within the realms of holistic health care:
- herbal medicine
- massage therapy
- physical therapy
- energy work
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 achieve optimal health.
Achieve holistic health
To achieve holistic health we must look at the different aspects of what is holistic health:
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 health, cognition and mental health.
Emotional health is generally the ability to cope with and express emotions in a socially appropriate manner.
As a holistic health practitioner, I can certainly say that negativity detracts from your emotional health and 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 and wellbeing.
Be aware that your work environment has an effect on your holistic health. 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 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.
Your mental health affects many different areas of your life. It is similar to emotional health because it includes your mood and your ability to handle stress. But mental health also affects your cognitive function, your ability to sleep, and how you maintain your relationship 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 health can have a profound impact on your life. Embracing the importance of holistic wellness, you may find that you experience reduced stress, improved mental health, and increased wellbeing.