Posted by: WillowSource on 07/12/2017

What is Holistic Health?

What is Holistic Health?

by Aimee Hughes, ND  


Holistic health.

You’ve probably heard these two words a million times. But what do they really mean?

Holistic refers to “whole.” The essence of holistic, or whole body healing, is healing that takes place on all levels, which is to say---mind, body and spirit. This is a concept quite contrary to the conventional Western approach to medicine, which focus on diseases of body parts, organs, systems, etc.

In Western medicine, the symptoms are fixed via pharmaceutical medicine or surgery. Holistic medicine examines the whole person, with the aim of finding the root of the problem, so that a particular health issue or disease is cured and doesn’t return. The root problem might be found on a physical level. But it might also reside on a psychological, emotional, or even spiritual one.

Holistic Healing Modalities

There are any number of healing modalities that fall under the umbrella of holistic health. Yoga, meditation, nutrition, chiropractic care, massage therapy, reiki and other energy healing techniques, qi gong, tai chi, hydrotherapy, acupuncture and acupressure, herbal and plant-based medicines and botanicals, aromatherapy, sound healing, Pilates, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional chinese medicine (TCM), naturopathy, hypnosis, tapping (EFT), flower essence therapy---these are all popular methods of holistic healing that fall under the category of holistic health. Even taking long walks in nature is highly beneficial for whole body health. There are so many ways we can improve our health on a holistic level. The possibilities are endless!

A Holistic Approach

The holistic approach to healing is two-fold. First of all, it believes there is a cure in nature. In other words, Mother Nature has a cure for every disease under the sun. There’s a cure in nature for everything. Secondly, the human body has an innate capacity to heal. It just needs a little bit of prodding---either from an experienced holistic health practitioner, or via a botanical remedy that comes from nature.

Holistic healers believe that all people are different. There’s no one-size-fits all cure for anybody, which is the way of the Western approach. Western medicine prescribes the same pharmaceutical to everyone---labeling them with the same disease according to various symptoms. This approach is making us sicker than ever, which is why there needs to be more evidence to back up holistic medicine, so that it becomes every bit (if not more) mainstream than the conventional, Western approach.

Holistic Healing is Timeless

Holistic health holds ancient wisdom that Western medicine lacks. Some of the healing modalities listed above have been around for literally thousands and thousands of years. Traditional chinese medicine, for example, was developed in China over 2,000 years ago. Yoga dates back to a period of history that took place nearly 5,000 years ago. According to an article published in the U.S. National Library of medicine, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3336651/, Ayurvedic medicine was born in India back in the 6th century B.C. Like most holistic health modalities, Ayurveda is timeless and universal. It worked thousands of years ago, just as it works today.

In fact, a recent study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411016000250 states this about Ayurvedic medcine: “the ancient wisdom of this traditional medicine is still not exhaustively explored. The junction of rich knowledge from different traditional systems of medicine can lead to new avenues in herbal drug discovery process.”

As you can see, there’s so much wisdom that lies within these ancient systems of healing---so much so that we’re all beginning to “wake up” to the beauty and (one might even say, enlightenment) that is born from the rich soils of natural medicine. As more and more people begin trying various holistic health therapies, holistic healing will become the method of choice for those of us who want control over our own health.

While Western medicine makes us powerless to medical doctors and pharmaceutical drugs and their adverse side effects, holistic health is downright empowering. We get to choose which technique to follow. We decide which whole foods and herbs work best for our bodies and minds. We don’t have to fall prey to the greed of pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies. Holistic health is even fun! With so many remedies and modes of healing, it’s both an art and a science just waiting to be explored!


Aimee Hughes, ND has penned hundreds of health and wellness articles. She's the author of The Sexy Vegan Kitchen: Culinary Adventures in Love & Sex (available on Amazon), and senior staff writer for Tao 'N' Zen Botanicals.


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