In recent times, science and medicine have combined to create a wonderful strategy for delivering modern care for illnesses. There’s so much research available regarding hundreds of diseases, there is an abundance of doctors with superb knowledge and there are many treatments available for a wide variety of illnesses. But, modern care tends to focus heavily on treating the symptoms, rather than assessing the overall health of the individual.
By only addressing the symptoms of a problem, you never get down to the underlying cause. This is the crux of this article: and this is essentially how holistic health sets itself apart from western medicine.
That’s why we’re starting to hear more and more about people choosing holistic approaches to their health. That is healthcare that takes into account the whole body and how it can function at optimal levels, with minimal interference. Holistic health is essentially making smart life choices to achieve complete well-being; that involves strengthening the mind, body, and spirit so every part of your body is performing optimally.
Is there a definition of holistic health?
According to the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA), holistic health is described like this:
“Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning the very best that is possible.”
The holistic health approach instructs us to give sufficient attention to all three aspects of wellbeing, otherwise none of them will be at a level we want them to be. When an individual masters mind, body, and spirit, that’s when they’ll be in a position to lead a better, healthier life. So, in comparison to modern care – holistic is proactive and aims to avoid illnesses, whereas modern is designed to destroy short-term symptoms every single time.
Holistic healthcare – a modern day example
A great example of a holistic healthcare discipline is chiropractic care.
Natural health advocate and Chiropractor, Doctor Ian Deitch (Chiropractor) from Chirolife, who was a previous winner of the Australian Achievers Award for Health and who has been a lecturer in Chiropractic, has the following message on his biography page:
“Chiropractic in its essence is to allow the human body to function at its best. If everyone on the planet was adjusted I believe humanity would be healthier, less stressed, less sick and above all have a more fulfilling life.”
“I like to think that after you have experienced chiropractic care…you learn to trust in your body’s ability to heal itself. Knowing that the brain, tissues, and organs are communicating better than they were before. This, in turn, means that function should improve and healing takes place.”
Judging by that account, it’s easy to identify that the holistic health approach seems to consider a deeper level of health, through your own ability to heal. Rather than simply focusing on symptoms, as we touched on before, it would seem that by allowing the human body to function at its best, healing may occur body-wide. The question is, how many people are thinking like this?
With that being said, let’s discuss how you can achieve holistic health.
How can I achieve holistic health?
The first part is complete, you’ve now committed to this ancient methodology and are on your way to becoming a healthier individual. But, in order for your journey to be successful, you need to prioritize your mind, body, and spirit. Oh, and it doesn’t help to add an extra, which is emotional.
Typically, most people falter as they can’t master all of these elements at the same time but can instead settle for one or two of them. For instance, someone may be great at going to the gym 5 times a week to keep their heart and cardiovascular health in a wonderful state. But, then they may neglect to sleep, spending time with family, and enjoying things that they once loved.
Health and your habits – better habits may give you better health
Now, people often get themselves into a routine whereby they function through habits on a daily basis. That means a large part of achieving holistic health is forming new habits, by adding a small portion of each category into your routine each and every week. After a few weeks, the mind will recognize your new pattern and will start to appreciate them as habits rather than change.
There is a great video, a TEDtalk, by Matt Cutts, which talks about how you can train your mind into adopting better habits, with the resulting overtime being a healthier and happy self. It would seem that by trying something new for 30 days, you might be able to better think about setting and achieving goals. It’s food for thought.
Watch the video here!
Here is something you can follow (adapt it to suit yourself):
- Mind –Commit to getting 8-hours of sleep to reduce stress levels.
- Body – Go for a 30-minute walk, jog or run each morning.
- Spirit – Do something that you enjoy at least once per week.
- Emotional – Spend time with family, friends or colleagues once or twice per week.