Health, Wellness &
The Role Of Holistic
Good Health - Is It Everything?
As the saying goes, "your health
is everything." Or is it?
People universally claim to want
good health, whether or not they take measures to achieve it. But
what is wellness? If you are physically healthy, does that mean you are
If you've been stung by a bee or
eaten a peanut and you're deathly allergic to those toxins, or if you've
broken your arm or stepped on a nail, then long-term wellness has less
relevance in the moment. Read our First Aid section or head for your
local medical clinic.
Once those crises are past, your
general sense of well-being may also influence your
What Is Wellness?
Wellness is more a state of mind
than perfect physical condition. One can achieve happiness, contentment
and acceptance in the moment. With that perfect balance one may
possess a sense of well-being, even in the face of what others may
see as insurmountable physical or other personal challenges.
Good physical health contributes
to a sense of well-being, but it is vastly important to grasp the extent
to which our mental and emotional state influences the cellular functions
in our bodies.
Well-Being For The Whole Person
Holistic medicine is a system of
health care that emphasizes the whole person, based on the belief that the
physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of health are of
equal importance to a person's well-being. To devise a plan that treats
the whole person and not just the symptoms of disease, holistic medicine
looks at all options to treat a condition, including natural, herbal,
"conventional" (allopathic or so-called western medicine), plus physical,
mental and emotional states .
Holistic medicine is more a
philosophy of wellness and health than it is a method or collection of
techniques. A practitioner of holistic health may recommend or use any of
a wide variety of so-called alternative and conventional methods in
treatment. Those may include herbal and natural healing, massage therapy,
counseling and support groups, aromatherapy, herbal medicine, diet and
nutritional supplements and conventional drug therapy and
Who Uses Holistic Medicine?
In recent years, more and more
conventional health care providers are supporting a holistic approach to
health. Compared to the last few decades of the disease and symptom
approach to "modern medicine," recognizing and supporting wellness
programs that emphasize all aspects of a person's health is a monumental
step that fosters hope for the integration of body, mind and spirit into
our health care. Many health insurance plans now include coverage for gym
and health club memberships, support groups for weight loss and smoking
cessation and for people dealing with particular conditions, educational
outreach, nutritional counseling and referrals to some alternative
practitioners such as massage therapy and acupuncture.
Holistic medicine may refer to
one of a number of different alternative therapies that share the belief
that medical treatment must take the entire lifestyle and life of a person
into account when prescribing treatment, not just the symptoms of a
disease. These may include homeopathy, naturopathy, Ayurveda and
traditional Chinese medicine, chiropractic, craniosacral therapy or
conventional physical therapy, to name a few.
Consider becoming your own
therapist with any number of other energy-based modalities such as
Reiki, music, art, breathwork or color therapy.
The Evidence for Holistic Medicine
Since holistic medicine refers
to a philosophy of health that includes many different disciplines, it?s
difficult to define specific research or studies that support the use of
holistic medicine overall. There is no financial incentive for researchers
aligned with our AMA or pharmaceutical companies to explore these
disciplines. (On the contrary...)
In general, however, most
conventional practitioners are starting to agree that disease is often a
function of more than just the symptoms or the pathology, and that it is
better to treat the person than to treat the illness. Consequently, they
will prescribe treatments that include meditation, yoga, martial arts
practice for exercise, dietary and lifestyle changes and support groups to
help a patient achieve a more balanced lifestyle.
Many of these therapies, such as
acupuncture and ayurveda, have been developed and used successfully for
hundreds or thousands of years in other cultures and remain unproven only
by our western scientific methods.
Furthermore, most holistic
therapies cost far less than allopathic medicine. They are safer less
invasive, and can often be achieved at home or in supportive group
If you came looking for
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