Holistic health is gaining momentum in the United States, but its definition is a bit ambiguous. For some people holistic health means turning away from allopathic medicine and seeking wellness in alternative therapies exclusively. This is (or seems to be) the right choice for some people. Others define holistic health as the act of treating a person as a whole, as opposed to simply treating the symptoms of a disease. Someone who suffers from chronic ear infections, then, might be asked to take their antibiotics and perform another action to treat what is found to be the underlying cause. Perhaps acupuncture will relieve the infections, or a massage, or perhaps better posture will straighten things out.
Holistic health means looking for the problem behind the disease, viewing the disease as only a symptom of a larger problem. Holistic choices include things like eating right, exercise, acupuncture, massage, sleeping well, meditation, herbal treatments, and more. Holistic health also means looking at every aspect of a person, treating their minds, bodies, and souls, no matter what the presented problem is. The best part is the benefits that can be seen overall.
While there are times that allopathic medicine must be brought in for the safety of the patient (a life-saving surgery or treatment for a very threatening illness), the goal of a holistic lifestyle is to prevent the need for these life-saving procedures in the first place. If you eat well and exercise your entire life, for example, you will probably not need a bypass surgery. If you meditate and self-calm, you will not likely need medication to treat your high blood pressure.
Holistic health means treating a person through all aspects to make them as healthy as a whole person as they can be. It is the creation of the “ideal” lifestyle health-wise, because it is not only a treatment of poor health, but a lifestyle designed to preserve good health and keep you feeling your best long into your golden years.
There are many people who take holistic approaches to their care without applying a fully holistic lifestyle. These people are engaged in holistic health for short periods of time or for incomplete parts of their lives. These are the people who will grab McDonald’s on their way to yoga, or who use massage to treat stress. This is not truly holistic health, since they are not treating the underlying causes of their problems, not are they engaged in preventative measures through eating right or learning to be more serene. These people are engaged in activities that are employed by devotees of the holistic lifestyle, but are not members of that lifestyle themselves.
More people than ever are starting to realize the benefits of increasing their overall health and avoiding things or situations that cause their health and state of mind to deteriorate. An executive might scale back his job so that he can spend more time on healthier choices and increase his peace of mind by reducing his stress. A mother might make the choice to take herbal supplements for her diet and to cook for her family instead of going out. This is the kind of person who counts to ten instead of exploding and enjoys living well. You cannot force yourself onto a holistic path. If it is not what you want to do, then you will stray from it. If you are willing to do the work, though, a holistic lifestyle can have many wonderful benefits.
Holistic health is the health of your body, your mind, and your soul. Take care of yourself inside and out, and you will feel the benefits all your life. And the best part is you’ll live a good, long time feeling those benefits, too.