What Is Holistic Health?
In this blog, we will discuss the meaning and history of wellness and holistic health. By understanding this, we can realise how to take the steps needed to help ourselves have a happier, healthier and more spiritual life.
Let's dive right in!
What is Wellness?
These days, we see wellness everywhere. It has almost become a marketing tactic that businesses are using to sell to us. But what does wellness actually mean?
For me, wellness is so much more than just an absence of symptoms. It's more about optimising our health. So, how can we get beyond just feeling like we don't have any symptoms, but rather, be in a space where we're actually really enjoying our lives and we're feeling vital when we wake up in the morning?
Unfortunately, with the current medical model, physicians are trained just to deal with symptoms instead of addressing the root causes. Although symptoms are really useful as it's a way our body is communicating to us that something's not quite right, we need to look at a deeper level as to why there is dysfunction in this particular area of the body.
When we're just getting treated on that superficial level of reducing symptoms, then what is occurring underneath is not being addressed.
Why the Current Medical Model is Failing
Let's play this out in an example. A person has a condition like hypertension. Whilst it's important to get that blood pressure down to protect the blood vessels, if we just focus on telling the patient to take the pills that reduce that blood pressure, we're not actually addressing why that blood pressure became increased in the first place.
Reasons people might have high blood pressure can be from stress. When we stress, the body constricts, and blood vessels constrict. And so there's increased pressure.
High salt in the diet can also cause increased blood pressure. When we consume a lot of salt, it's running around in our circulation. And salt is an osmolyte, which means that it draws water to it. So by volume expansion in a high salt diet, we can also get hypertension. This is very common in the western diet, because of all the processed food that contains excessive salt to prolong shelf life.
Or what about kidney problems?
The kidneys' role is to be able to balance the fluid levels in the body. So the cause of hypertension could be salt, stress or the kidneys. It can also happen from mineral imbalances, particularly calcium magnesium imbalances, which can also cause blood vessel constriction.
And so, when we consider these four very different causes, if we're just taking a medicine, to reduce that blood pressure, we're still not addressing any of these underlying health issues, so they continue to cause more problems down the track... sound familiar to anybody?
How Wellness and Holistic Health is Different from Western Medicine
If we don't address what these specific causes are, they're not going away, but we just continue to cover the symptoms. And then, more medications are needed or we end up having a lot of other secondary types of conditions, and eventually, it ends up being in the absence of any quality of life.
When you're not well, you don't have the energy and the vitality to be able to participate in life and importantly to enjoy doing it. Many are now trying to move away from the extra toxins and the chemicals of pills and moving into more natural ways, such as various Traditional Medicine approaches, which look at the underlying causes.
Bringing the Body into Balance
Another important thing is working with the body to bring it back into balance. The body heals itself in the right environment. There are simple things can we do to support the body to go back into balance, and then heal as it does, naturally.
In wellness, we focus less on treating the disease and more on treating the person, holistically.
Let's go back to the hypertension example.
A disease label is just a convenient way that we've been able to group people by their sets of symptoms so there can be a single medicine given to the masses for those particular symptoms.
But people aren't diseases. People who don't fit into clear-cut disease categories are led to believe there are no treatments for them and that may be the case from the Western Medicine model.
It's really important for us to move beyond those labels, and actually, look at the person. What's happening with that person, but not just in the body, not just physically, but also in their mind and spirit.
Shifting into Holism
The principles and philosophies that underlie holism, or holistic health, that first got popular in the 1980s, focuses on the body, mind and spirit health.
On one side, we've got people who are very much into spirituality, but not looking at physical health. And then on the other end of the spectrum, we've got a lot of people looking at the physical and trying to find treatments and cures for their physical ailments without looking at their energetics.
Holistic Health brings all of these together in an integrative way.
And that's truly how we can help rebalance the body- by looking at the energy that is within us and surrounds us as well.
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