Taking care of your health means much more than improving the condition of your body. Living a good life requires a holistic approach to wellness, and that’s exactly the wisdom behind holistic healing / medicine – as well as this blog.
So what is holistic healing? Why do we need it in our lives? How can we incorporate it?
What does holistic healing mean?
Holistic healing is a form of treatment that considers the person as a whole – body, mind, soul, spirit, and emotions-. The primary goal of holistic healing is optimal wellness. According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve “perfect” health by gaining proper balance among all life’s dimensions.
Another way to define holistic healing is;
The practice of wellness that refers to the whole person, including all internal and external factors that might affect one’s health. Holistic care refers to the entire person, including one’s physical, social, mental, spiritual, and emotional needs.
Holistic medicine philosophy claims that the whole person is made up of interconnected parts –wellness dimensions-.
It has roots in the notion that multiple wellness dimensions affect your overall health. Neglect in one of them will affect you in the others and consequently, will disturb your life’s balance – and therefore your overall health.
How does holistic healing work?
Holistic healing aims to nurture or recover balance among a human’s various wellness dimensions. Instead of focusing on a specific symptom or illness, as conventional medicine does, holistic health refers to multiple aspects of a human’s life.
Holistic healing addresses the person as a whole – considering their mind, spirit, body, and soul in treatment or therapies. Therefore, holistic healing can introduce to us various treatments or therapies, as long as they support this wholeness perspective.
Another way of understanding the work of holistic healing or holistic medicine is to consider the actions one might take to boost holistic health.
What are the 5 components of holistic healing? What makes it so important?
“Health isn’t about being “perfect” with food or exercise or herbs. Health is about balancing those things with your desires. It’s about nourishing your spirit as well as your body.”
Therefore, the benefits for the body are mirroring your desires. Wellness thrives through a balance that comes naturally. Holistic health is extremely important and mandatory for any human who desires a healthy, fulfilled, and happy life.
What are the practices and therapies of holistic healing?
Alternative health, complementary treatment, holistic therapies, integrative health- these are a few of the terms used today to describe a variety of healing practices that are not traditionally pharmaceutical, medical, or surgical.
In general, we can categorize holistic healing practices based on the relationship with conventional medicine practices. The difference between the categories has to do with the use along with traditional healthcare (traditional and pharmaceutical treatment.)
The holistic practices can be named as alternative, complementary, or integrative ones.
- When used instead of conventional medicine, those practices considered alternative. Some examples are replacing drugs and other pharmaceutical pills with herbs or botanical treatments.
- When used combined with conventional medicine, we call them complementary practices. Some examples are massage, meditation, and acupuncture.
- Last but not least, the healing techniques are integrative when used and accepted within conventional medicine. Integrative medicine refers to a full spectrum of conditions that may affect a person’s wellness. We put the human in the center and examine every wellness dimension separately to offer a holistic approach to treatment.
You can check some of the complementary or alternative holistic practices below. For integrative healing techniques ensure that you keep a balance among your wellness dimensions.
What are some of the alternative or complementary holistic healing practices?
Some alternative and complementary healthcare practices are:
- Reiki (Energy healing)
- Ayurvedic medicine
- Balneotherapy (natural hot or cold baths)
There are hundreds of types of holistic healing practices, while new therapies or variations of the old ones continually emerging. Those therapies can combine or replace conventional medicine. However, I would say that most of those holistic therapies, when complementary to conventional care, are a key part of holistic care.
Is any holistic healing therapy safe and effective?
It is mandatory to examine every part of a healthcare plan, either complementary or alternative, to figure out whether it is safe and effective.
- Safe means that the practice won’t generally be harmful to your well-being.
- Effective means that the practice brings the desired and expected results.
Therefore, we should consult a doctor, do our research, and examine the risks, evidence, and appropriate therapy for our case. Many of the alternative therapies are not recognized as safe or effective according to the scientific community.
In general, a person could use those therapies instead of traditional medicine. However, that might be risky. Imagine someone who replaces chemotherapy with naturopathy (healing with nature). It would make sense though to get a massage or a chiropractor while in chemotherapy to help your body recover.
Overall, some therapies may also put you at risk if they overlap or interfere with other treatments you’re undergoing.
I think that the goal here is to adopt an integrative health approach. That means, we foster the balance among our wellness dimensions, while the best of both conventional therapies and holistic medicine practices combined. It would be great if holistic doctors and medical scientists could work together for optimal results.
Many medical practitioners now recommend botanical medicines, massage, and chiropractic along with conventional medical treatment, for example. And hopefully, it will continue to thrive as many of us do our research continually demand the best of both holistic healing and conventional medicine.