The Holistic Approach to Your Health
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on April 8, 2009 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Has this ever happened to you? You go see your doctor about an illness or problem. And instead of finding the root cause, he sends you home with prescription drugs and follow-up appointments to “manage your condition.”
You probably wondered, “Did he even see me – the person, or just a disease?”
Many people consider this the fundamental problem with conventional medicine. It often ignores the fact that a symptom is actually a sign your body needs attention. It’s like taking the batteries out of a wailing smoke detector during a fire. The noise is eliminated, but the underlying cause is still there.
It’s easy to see why people are rediscovering the natural approach to wellness. Maybe the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” isn’t so old-fashioned after all.
Holistic health advocate Deepak Chopra said of the U.S. medical system, “Doctors have become superb technicians who know everything about the human body, and really lousy healers because they know nothing about the human soul.
The good news is… we live in an age where we can take advantage of both alternative and conventional medicine. Looking at the whole picture, we can balance age-old wisdom and new technology. This holistic approach puts you in charge of your own well-being.
Holistic Health is Not a New Concept
Eastern cultures have practiced this type of healing for more than 5,000 years. Living in harmony with nature, quieting the mind, and maintaining a flexible body are all concepts we’ve adopted from the East.
Modern medicine drastically changed our view of health care during the 20th century. But since then, we’ve found conventional medicine can’t “fix” everything. In some cases, the cure is more harmful than the condition.
With a clearer vision of what technology can and can’t do, we’re seeking a better balance for maintaining our health.
What is Holistic Health?
The concept is actually quite simple. Holistic deals with the “whole,” which is made up of interdependent parts. It’s what the “mind–body–spirit connection” is based on.
Specifically toward illness, holistic healing might include:
- Finding and treating the root cause of the illness
- Encouraging patient involvement in the treatment
- Considering both conventional and alternative methods for reversing the illness
If disease or illness does occur, the individual and holistic healthcare professional work together to find the cause and determine the solution. A full screening and in-depth interview give the information needed to decide on treatments that support the body’s natural healing system.
But holistic health is an approach to life, not just illness. It encourages balance, healthy lifestyle choices, and active participation in your health decisions and healing process. When everything works together in harmony, maximum well-being is easy to achieve.
Our Daily Choices are Connected to our Overall Well-Being
A study by The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that our state of health is influenced by:
- 10% – Quality of medical care
- 18% – Heredity
- 19% – Environment
- 53% – Everyday lifestyle choices
The choices we make each day – about what to eat or how to handle stress – actually determine our medical destiny! Our cells are constantly replaced, using what’s available in the body. Not enough of the good building blocks can result in imperfect cells. Then the body can’t perform the necessary functions to keep us healthy.
Similarly, on the non-physical level, your emotional well-being is made up of what you see and hear each day. A positive attitude lends energy and vitality to your whole life. Maintaining overall well-being automatically protects you from most illness.
How to Apply the Holistic Healing Approach to Your Life
The first step to holistic health is to educate yourself… just like you’re doing now. Seek trusted online sources for more information. Ask someone at your local health store to recommend books about alternative medicine. They can also share ideas on how to incorporate it into your life.
Next, seek the care of a qualified holistic health care professional. Look for a certified Naturopath, Herbalist, or Homeopathic practitioner. Plan to interview a few providers and decide which one you feel most comfortable with.
Expect a long interview, with questions about your family history, diet and exercise… even what you dream about. Screenings, such as a bio-energetic assessment, are painless ways to find out what’s going on inside your body. This is how the professional gathers a comprehensive view of your health.
Your provider can predict any conditions you may be at risk of developing. You’ll work together on a preventative plan. You’ll also learn overall strategies for achieving your goal of maximum wellness.
It may take some research and a little legwork to reach that goal of maximum wellness, but the benefits of holistic healing are well worth the effort.
Photo Credit: jhoc
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan