What Does Holistic Mean Anyway?
You’ve heard people drop words like “natural,” “alternative,” and “holistic,” but what does it all really mean? Voodoo medicine and living on a compound? Or perhaps there’s more to it than what meets the eye.
The word “holistic” implies that we consider not just the sum of all parts in making a whole, but rather the interdependency each of those parts has on each other. In terms of health, these parts can include various systems of the body, such as the digestive, cardiovascular, endocrine, and neurological systems, as well as the aspects of our health, which are physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual.
In case that’s still confusing, let me explain it another way. Holistic health means that we look beyond just the immediate problem and its symptoms in order to discover the root causes and how our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual states are effecting that.
If that still sounds a little “woo-woo” for you, don’t be too freaked out. It’s actually highly scientific; or at least our philosophies are here at YOU ARE WELL.
Let’s look at a client case-study to illustrate this a little better.
Casey came to see me regarding digestive discomforts and occasional hives, particularly when she consumed gluten. She had seen several different types of practitioners with little success at resolving these symptoms.
As we dug deeper, I learned that Casey was also struggling with anxiety, PMS, and sleep challenges. Knowing that all the aspects of the body are interconnected, we looked at what may be the root issue.
After more conversations and looking beyond the physical state and into her emotional and mental state, Casey shared about a traumatic relationship and stressful job experience she had previously gone through. All of her health issues began after this stressful period and had continued to worsen over time. This discovery revealed the connection to her adrenals, which are the organ responsible for producing the hormones related to stress response. Since all hormones are connected to some degree, and since high levels of stress effect other physical systems (i.e. digestion and neurological function), we began to see that while her digestion was producing the main symptoms, her adrenals may have been where the problem truly originated.
In the end, we did specifically address Casey’s digestive issues, but we also supported her adrenals and her overall ability to manage stress. By providing her body the nutrients it needed beyond those connected to the apparent symptoms, and by bringing balance to all aspects of her life, Casey was able to find the relief she was seeking and a level of health that exceeded anything she expected.
As you approach your health from a holistic perspective, consider these basic philosophies:
- All aspects of your life impact your health, including your body, your mind, your emotions, your spirit, and your surroundings.
- There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Holistic health is personalized health.
- Food & digestion are at the core of your health (literally and figurative).
- Health is impacted by what we absorb – through things we eat, touch, see, smell, hear, and feel.
- It’s all about BALANCE.
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