What is Holistic Health anyway?
When you hear of "Holistic Health," you probably think of natural and alternative medicine, yoga and meditation or other Eastern-inspired health trends. If so, you're at least partly right.
Like alternative medicine which integrates Eastern and Western medicine, Holistic Health focuses on 'wellness and prevention' rather than just treating diseases. Holistic Health uses a more comprehensive and personalized way of thinking about wellness utilizing complementary therapies that have been scientifically proven to work along with 'food as medicine', functional approaches to seek out root causes, western natural botanical/herbal remedies, traditional Chinese medicine therapies, mind and body practices such as meditation, breath work, yoga and grounding.
Treating the Whole You
Holistic health is about caring for the whole person — providing for your physical, mental, spiritual, and social needs. It's rooted in the understanding that all these aspects affect your overall health, and being unwell in one aspect affects you in others.
Take stress for example, which can be triggered by the 'Fight or Flight' 'Sympathetic State' of the Autonomic Nervous System. It's a psychological response, but it can also cause physical symptoms, such as headaches, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and muscle pain. Of course, it works both ways, and being physically ill can cause you to feel anxious or depressed. Meanwhile, your spirituality and your relationships can boost your mental and physical health. Studies show that having close friendships lowers your blood pressure, reduces your stress levels, and can even improve your chances of surviving cancer. Same with petting animals and getting out in nature even humming, singing, and laughing can boost the Vagus Nerve and promote 'Parasympathetic' state supporting the 'rest and digest' responses of the nervous system.
Understanding this, doctors who take a holistic approach to health don't just ask you about your symptoms. They ask about you, your symptoms, your overall health and your life, looking for deeper rooted complexities, so they can make personalized recommendations to improve your wellness.
Doctoring Outside the Box
Holistic care providers address a wide variety of wellness concerns, and they use a wide variety of clinically proven therapies — from surgery and pharmaceuticals, to dietary changes and exercise plans, to psychological and spiritual counseling. They might also recommend evidence-based alternative therapies, such as massage, acupuncture, yoga, infrared sauna treatment, cranio sacral therapies and even chiropractic alignment for supportive care.
For example, if you're experiencing chronic pain, a holistic health care provider might prescribe a program devised to get to the bottom of the pain and recommend that you eat a diet to decrease inflammation, boost cellular repair and protection in addition to recommending you increase your endorphins naturally by getting more exercise. A Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle specialist will ask about your diet, and discuss how certain foods contribute to inflammation. They'll dig deeper into stress, anxiety, depression and what their contributing factors could be. They will recommend massage to relax your muscles, acupuncture to help with nerve pain, or mindful meditation to help with pain management and stress relief.
Simply put, rather than treating the pain, they'll treat the person and use all the tools at their disposal to do it.
Making Wellness Doable
Wellness is a big, important goal, and it can feel overwhelming. You know you should eat cleaner and healthier foods, avoid toxins in the environment, drink more water, exercise more often, sleep eight hours a night, give up your vices, and make more time for rest and relaxation. But the busyness of work and life can make it hard to prioritize self-care, and the more you think about what you "should" be doing differently, the more daunting wellness can seem.
Holistic practitioners help empower you with the education and motivation to make better choices.
Rather than suggesting medications, they include you in the conversation and help you determine which changes would make the greatest impact on your health. They help you set wellness goals and then provide you with resources — whether that's a personalized plan or a referral to a specialist.
Holistic Health is about honoring the mind-body connection and treating the whole person, using a variety of clinically proven therapies. It's about developing a strong relationship with a practitioner who is committed to getting you healthy and keeping you that way.
Krista Zweers at Nourish Revive Thrive is here to make Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle health care work for you. Don't hesitate to reach out and set up a 30 minute complimentary consultation to see how your goals and needs can be supported.
Krista Zweers- Certified Holistic Nutritionist and Lifestyle Education Specialist
Nourish Revive Thrive- Holistic Nutrition and Lifestyle