Whole = body, mind & spirit
Holistic comes from the word whole, meaning to look at ourselves as a whole rather than focusing only on an illness, symptoms or specific parts of the body. This whole or holistic approach to life understands the mind, body and spirit are inseparable and integrated. Therefore, physical healing and mental and emotional well-being as well as spiritual beliefs are considered. As a philosophy of healthcare, holistic health treats the patient as a person rather than a disease.
If your body feels good, so does your mind (and vice versa). From a Holistic health perspective, your whole being works together for overall health.
Balance is one of the core principles in holistic health. Holistic health emphasizes the importance of balancing all aspects of one’s life and promoting greater wellness. The goal is to achieve optimal well-being, with everything functioning at the best that is possible.
Holistic medicine treats health as not just the absence of disease, but a dynamic state of balance. You cannot be completely healthy until you are balanced in all areas of your life, including your relationships and environment. You are always in a dynamic relationship to health, and a holistic practitioner will access and treat with this in mind.
Taking responsibility for your own health
Accepting personal responsibility for your own health and well-being is a key to Holistic Health Care. You must be responsible for our daily care through your diet, exercise and lifestyle, as well as your attitudes toward wellness.
Each of us must be an active participant in our own healing. No one treatment, technique or medication works for everyone. Some chronic conditions do not respond to conventional medical treatments and the medical cures for some conditions have side effects that can be as harmful as the disease. Holistic health can offer complementary or alternative healing options.
The holistic health continuum
According to the principles of holistic health, health is much more than not being sick. We can look at wellness as a continuum, with the line representing all possible states of health:
Illness Lack of disease
High level wellness
We can always improve our well-being. The right half of the continuum shows that, even when no illness is present, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Holistic health requires a personal commitment to moving toward the right end of the wellness continuum.
Where Do I Start?
Begin with a personal assessment of the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life. Your daily lifestyle choices significantly influence your state of wellness. Many illnesses and premature deaths can be traced back to lifestyle choices such as smoking and substance abuse. We less often recognize how other lifestyle choices, including poor diet, lack of exercise and even negative attitudes can affect our long term health.
Ask yourself: where do I feel out of balance in my life? What can there be more of? Less of? Identify one or two areas of your life and health where you are ready and able to make some improvements. Start where you are. You do not have to change everything at once, or adopt a completely new set of beliefs.
You might be ready to move toward high level wellness on your own. If you need support, find a holistic health modality and practitioner that feel like the right fit for you.