Holistic Health, Brings a lot of questions to the table as of late. What is it? Where did it originate from? What is it used for and what are the benefits? Some of you may already follow a Holistic Health lifestyle and approach to overall well being and some of you may be just hearing about this. This term Holistic Health comes up more and more these days but it is far from new.
Let’s take a look at where it came from and how you can benefit from using it in your everyday life.
The History of Holistic Health
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Holistic Health Derived from Hippocrates referred to as the “Father of Medicine” who lived in the 4th century B.C. That’s right B.C.!! So as you can see this is far from a new concept. He believed in the natural healing process of rest, a good diet, fresh air, and cleanliness. He noted that there were individual differences in the severity of disease symptoms and that some individuals were better able to cope with their disease and illness than others.
Hippocrates believed in the healing power of nature and encouraging the self-healing efforts of the body.
Holistic health practitioners use many methods of healing, but they share a common basic approach. They believe in the ancient idea that healing is most effective when you consider the whole person, rather than focusing on specific illnesses, body part or symptom.
Socrates once said, “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.”
Holistic health is a lifestyle. Instead of focusing on a specific illness within the body you focus on the whole body. The connection between your mind, body and soul and how you interact with your environment.
The Chinese have practiced this method of healing for centuries. They believe that true health is accomplished as a result of balance from within the body. Your mind, body, and soul work together as a whole. The environment around you is a part of this balance and how you react will determine your well being.
This never-ending circle of energy is referred to as Yin and Yang. All actions good or bad have a consequence, some positive some negative. Everything in our environment is intertwined.
They believe no one emotion is good or bad until it becomes excessive which then leads to imbalance.
For an example let’s use sugar, something here in the western culture that we use to excessive levels. Donuts for breakfast, cookies at lunch, ice cream for dessert. Foods high in sugar throw off your blood sugar levels, causing an imbalance in your body.
Modern Medicines impact on Holistic Health
During the 20th Century Western or Modern Medicine became more popular. Western Medicine sees the body as parts instead of a whole. Those parts include your bones, fluids, organs, tissue, cells, molecules and DNA.
With the discovery of germs and diseases, Western medicine became completely focused on intervention. Diseases were treated as invaders to be destroyed with medicines such as penicillin. Physicians paid less attention to healthy lifestyle choices, environmental factors, and emotional health. The emphasis was on symptoms and syndromes. As a society we were taught we could do whatever we wanted, eat, drink, live it up and party! If and when something bad happens will use medicine to “fix” it.
It has taken almost a century for the health industry to realize the limitation to this way of health. Some of the approaches used to cure diseases have been proven to be more harmful than the original disease they sought after to destroy.
For instance antibiotics, they kill off all bacteria within our bodies, good and bad, leaving use more acceptable to other diseases. There has been proven alternatives in Holistic Health that give our bodies the power to battle against the bad bacteria while leaving the good intact. (Find out More)
I’m not here to say we should ignore modern medicine or the advice of trained physicians. I respect what doctors do, I myself cannot deliver a baby, set a broken bone or perform heart surgery. The great news is the mindset is changing and it’s agreed even within the medical world that prevention is just as important as treating an illness.
This change in mindset led to a renewal of interest in holistic health education in the West. The first National Conference on Holistic Health was conducted in California in 1975. The American Holistic Health Association and the Holistic Medical Association were then formed.
Holistic Health Today
We live in a time of great imbalance. Either through neglect or through toxic substances or activities we cannot deny there are more pollutants and chemicals in our food and environment than ever before. We face epidemic rates of obesity and chronic disease. Most people have poor diet and exercise habits. Almost everyone in our fast-paced society struggles to manage daily stress, and many are afflicted with chronic depression and anxiety.
Treatment involves fixing the cause of the condition, not just alleviating the symptoms, getting to the root of the issue.
Holistic Health today uses many different therapies such as:
- Alternative Medical Systems Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.
- Mind-Body Interventions include behavioral, psychological, social, and spiritual approaches. Examples are cancer support groups and relaxation classes.
- Biologically-Based Therapies use plant or other biological materials. Examples include herbal medicines and aromatherapy.
- Manipulative and Body-Based Methods use manipulation, touch, or movement of the physical body. Examples include massage therapy and chiropractic.
- Energy Therapies involve some form of energy to heal, including electromagnetic, ultrasonic, thermal, or subtle energy. Examples include Qigong and Reiki
Benefits of Holistic Health
Aging is a degenerating process, we start out healthy and everything we do from then on determines the rate at which we age. If you eat a healthy diet, stay active and find a healthy outlet to destress you are able to slow this process down. Remember Holistic Health is a Lifestyle, It’s all about finding your balance and preventing illness.
The one common theme around Holistic Health is we are all responsible for ourselves and our own wellbeing. No two people are the same and what works for one may not work for another. Within my blog, you will discover many Holistic Health remedies but you have to listen to your own body to find what works for you, focus on your balance.
To Help Balance Yourself
- Establish Meaningful Relationships: Surround yourself with people who make you strive to be better or make you feel good about yourself. Get rid of negativity.
- Meditation: Achieve a relaxed state of mind. This is different for everyone. Maybe it’s yoga, or a 5 min walk, a hot shower, a cup of tea, relaxing music.
- Focus on Movement: Work Out, walk, yoga, step away from the desk.
- Take on Challenges: One day at a time, Allow yourself to grow. There’s a Chinese saying,”Instead of eating the elephant all at once and choking on it, eat one small piece at a time.”
- See a Healthcare Provider: They can run a test to find out if you have any allergies to food or airborne pathogens as well as run blood tests to determine gut health and amino acid levels.
If you want to learn more about Holistic Health or making some of your own Herbal medicines at home check out The Big Book of Home Remedies