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. A psychological response, but it can also cause physical symptoms, such as headaches, trouble sleeping, weight gain, and muscle pain.
The reverse is also true:
Being physically ill can cause you to feel anxious or depressed.
Meanwhile, our spirituality and our relationships can boost our mental and physical health.
For example, studies show that having close friendships lowers our blood pressure, reduces our stress levels, and can even improve our chances of surviving cancer. Understanding this, let us not dwell on symptoms alone, our health is all about us—our overall health and our life — so we can address the whole body.
When we consider Holistic care, we are addressing a wide variety of wellness concerns, and we use a wide variety of clinically proven therapies — from surgery and pharmaceuticals to dietary changes and exercise plans, to psychological and spiritual counseling. Sometimes we might also recommend evidence-based alternative therapies, such as massage, acupuncture, and yoga, for supportive care.
One of the examples is experiencing chronic pain:
A holistic healthcare provider might prescribe medications or recommend surgery to repair an injury,
They'll also recommend that you increase your endorphins naturally by getting more exercise.
They'll ask about your diet and discuss how certain foods contribute to inflammation.
They'll ask you about stress, anxiety, and depression — all of which can cause pain or be caused by it — and refer you to a therapist if you want one.
Then they might also 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 it work
Wellness is a big, important goal, and it can feel overwhelming.
You know you should eat healthier foods, drink more water, hit the gym 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 wellness empowers us with the education and motivation to make better choices. Rather than suggesting a long list of lifestyle changes, we are included in the conversation that helps us determine which changes would make the greatest impact on our health. They help us set wellness goals and then provide us with resources — whether that's a personalized plan or a referral to a specialist.
So, what is holistic health care? It's 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 doctor who is committed to getting you healthy and keeping you that way.