It’s a new year with new opportunities on the horizon. If you’re one of the many people who are examining their health this time of year, you may be intrigued by the growing popularity of holistic medicine. This all-encompassing approach to healthcare, self-care, wellness and prevention focuses on balance between all areas of your life – physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, environmentally, and spiritually. Holistic health combines many areas of medicine and uses both traditional and unconventional preventative and treatment measures.
Does holistic health sound like a philosophy that may improve your life this year? Being in-tune with the multiple layers involved in your overall health and wellness may be just the change you need to make this an incredible year of growth and vitality. We’re sharing more about the practice of holistic medicine so you can gage your holistic health and determine if this approach would be an asset in your life.
Principles of Holistic Health
- Holistic health takes the “whole person” into account. Just like internal organs are connected to help your body run optimally, so are all areas of your life intertwined. This philosophy is designed to help people find balance and live their lives to the fullest.
- Rather a sole focus on treating symptoms, holistic medicine aims to determine the root cause and strives to prevent future problems. Even when health concerns present in one area, practitioners look to all aspects of a person’s life to determine the cause, possible prevention, and treatment options.
- Holistic health employs many methods to treat patients including standards in traditional healthcare, as well as alternative methods such as herbalism, homeopathy, chiropractic care, naturopathy, massage therapy, and acupuncture. Practitioners will also examine self-care including diet, sleep, physical activity, lifestyle choices, social and spiritual outlets and environment.
- Healing can come from many sources. Love is the most powerful healer, which can come from oneself and externally. Everyone has their own ability to heal but needs guidance through a trained practitioner, strong relationships and a support system.
- Patients are individuals and not defined by their health issues. Therefore, to help someone through holistic medicine, practitioners must have a personal, trusting relationship with their patients in order to fully understand, diagnose and offer viable solutions.
Tips to Improve Holistic Health
If you’re serious about implementing the holistic health approach, you’ll want to find a holistic provider through the American Holistic Medical Association. And you can get started right away with these tips to improve your holistic health:
Reduce Stressors: A little stress is motivating but a lot of stress is debilitating. Nip stressors head on by staying organized, communicating when problems arise, and prioritizing activities. Also, get rid of toxicity by decluttering your home and work spaces and throwing away things that have negative connotations for you. Freeing up this emotional space will make way for positivity.
Eat Mindfully: Food should fuel your body and make you feel great. Examine your diet with a new, holistic lens. That doesn’t mean you have to eliminate all sweet treats or fatty favorites, but rather incorporate more health foods that will boost your body, mind and spirit. Also, take time to savor food, either alone or with friends and family.
Relax and Sleep: Never underestimate the power of rest, relaxation and sleep. They do a body good just as much as a healthy diet and exercise. It’s during this time when your body, brain and soul have the chance to recharge and rejuvenate. Without it, you can expect a slew of health and wellness problems.
Move More: Exercise is a wonderful tool not only to improve physical strength, but also to relieve stress and stimulate feel-good brain chemicals that can elevate your mood and boost your energy. Beyond working out, simply being active in your daily life – such as standing while making a phone call or taking a 10-minute time-out to walk or stretch – makes a difference as well.
Adopt a Mantra: Along with meditation, breathing exercises and mindfulness, having a mantra that quickly calms and centers your mind can be a tremendous asset. Mantras can be simple and generic, or more personal in nature. When you hit a trigger, use your mantra to balance yourself and return to a more peaceful state.
Listen to Yourself: Holistic medicine is reliant on being self-aware. Your instincts are powerful guides to determine what is best for you on any given day or in any situation. Be mindful of what your body is telling you, whether that’s a physical pain, uneasy feeling, or craving for connection.
Sources: WebMD, Medicine in Balance, YMCA, and Karissa’s Vegan Kitchen