Western medicine has fairly narrow focus on treating the symptoms of disease rather than providing care for the whole person.
That approach is effective, but also very limited. Holistic healthcare, on the other hand, does more than simply fix problems as they arise – it’s focused on discovering the underlying causes of illnesses and promoting the health of body, mind, and spirit.
Treating high blood pressure with blood-thinning medication is fine and may be life-saving. But medication won’t deal with the real causes of the problem.
Maybe the high blood pressure has been caused by stress, unhealthy lifestyle, or mental health issues. Holistic healthcare seeks to change those root causes so they won’t manifest as other illnesses in the future.
A holistic approach to your health means looking at the big picture.
Holistic thinking minimises harm
Understanding how different systems in your body are interconnected is the key insight of holistic health.
Good health depends on interconnected networks, not just within the body but also the environment, lifestyle, and social structures.
To illustrate this, imagine someone having an arthritis flare-up due to work stress. That flare-up may cause them to miss work for a week and feel like a burden, leading to depression and anxiety. If those mental health issues lead to overeating and inactivity, the subsequent weight gain will exacerbate the arthritis.
When you recognise how your whole body and lifestyle are interconnected, it’s easy to understand why a holistic approach to health is so important.
Here are 5 steps to take care of your health in a holistic way:
1. Daily Meditation
Research has proven a powerful link between our psychological and physical health. By boosting the health of your mind, meditation can keep you healthier as well.
In a study of breast cancer survivors, researchers found that meditation had profoundly positive effects. Women who fostered mindfulness through meditation recovered faster at a cellular level.
2. Think Positive
How you think impacts how you feel as well as your physical and mental health.
Creating a more positive mindset will create a healthier you. You can’t simply think your way out of illness, of course, but a healthy mind and positive approach to life will help you maintain good general health. That means less illness, more resilience, and faster recovery if you do get sick.
We already covered meditation, but there are many practices you can use to get your mind healthy:
- Practice deep breathing
- Take time to draw, write, play music, or do something else creative
- Take up yoga
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member regularly
- Watch a funny movie – laughter genuinely is good for you
- Keep a daily gratitude journal
- Start your day with positive affirmations
3. Create a healthier skincare routine
Achieving great long-term health means changing daily habits. Even small things like your skincare routine can have a big effect.
You may not think that skincare products affect your health think about it: our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, and it’s highly absorbent. If you’re covering your skin with harmful chemicals every day for years, that has a negative effect on your health over time.
But if you’re applying all-natural, healthful products every day, your skin will look and feel better and you’ll be healthier too.
If your skincare products contain ingredients like sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), parabens, alcohol, formaldehyde, propylene glycol, or artificial fragrances, then they are harming your health in the long-run.
Get rid of them and replace them with healthy alternatives from a natural skincare company like Okana.co.nz. Some of the most beneficial ingredients are:
- Avocado oil
- Coconut oil
- Berry extracts
- Grape seed oil
- Apple cider vinegar
4. Hit the gym and eat healthy
Exercise is important for your overall health and plays a role in maintaining a healthy weight. But diet is just as important – in fact, for weight loss, it’s even more powerful.
There’s a lot of conflicting information out there about how to eat well – some of it is well-meaning but often it’s inaccurate or misleading. The best way to eat well is with a tailored eating plan that serves your health needs, fitness goals, and even your genetic profile .
So, hit the gym but work with a nutritionist as well to create your ideal diet. Some gyms even nutritionists and trainers on staff – if you can find a place like this you can streamline your holistic health goals!
5. Find holistic healthcare professionals
The point here isn’t to abandon western medicine but to round it out. You should continue to get regular checkups and go to the doctor when you’re ill.
But it’s important to find a doctor who understands the importance of holistic healthcare and will support you in pursuing a healthy lifestyle as well as diagnosing illnesses.
That might mean finding a GP who is open to complementary medicine or who has also trained in osteopathy. Or it may be better to see a physiotherapist, nutritionist, and psychologist in addition to your standard medical check-ups.
Remember, holistic health is about treating causes as well as symptoms and taking care of the mind and body long-term, not just when things go wrong.
Ask your doctor if they’re happy to combine physiotherapy or osteopathy with other treatments. Discuss the link between mental and physical health and make sure you’re on the same page. If you find that your doctor is dismissive of these ideas, keep looking.