What is the Holistic Approach to Health?

by 26Health Staff

Holistic health – words that get tossed about a lot. But what does the term holistic health actually mean and why do we hear and see it everywhere? Let’s shed some light on it in this post.

Defining Holistic Health

Holistic health, at its very core, means that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. For therapeutic purposes, from a therapist’s perspective, it means looking at the person’s health as a whole, taking into account their mental, physical, and emotional health, as well as social factors that may affect them.

Here is an example: You go into the doctor’s office because you have a migraine. Typically you would walk out with some medication and a request to check back in with your doctor. A holistic approach, by contrast, would examine all of the potential factors that could be causing the migraines. Factors such as overall health, diet, sleep habits, personal problems, stress, and spiritual practices. You may still leave the appointment with medication, but you’ll also leave with a plan to modify your lifestyle in order to prevent the migraines from recurring. Make sense?

The belief that medication will solve your ailments is not a holistic approach. A holistic approach looks at all of the possible factors that could be affecting your health.

Adopting a Holistic Healthy Lifestyle

You may be asking yourself, what can I do to adopt a more holistic approach? Great question! Here are some things you can do:

Examine Your Diet. I know this is way easier said than done. I am not suggesting you go on a diet. This suggestion just means to look at the food choices you are making and see if you can make some healthier choices. Maybe you start with drinking more water and trying to incorporate a new vegetable into your diet every week.

Stay Active. Are you a sit on the couch and binge Netflix type of person or are you a 24/7 gym rat? I’m not suggesting you completely change your ways. It’s up to you to find a balance that works for you. Walking, riding a bike, skating, jogging, whatever you enjoy, try to do it a few times a week.

Consider Your Social Network. Look at the people around you; friends, family, and romantic partners. Do they provide positive enrichment to your life or do they drain you emotionally? Evaluate those relationships and balance your time between those who make you feel good and those who are the energy vampires.

Get Spiritual. Do you attend religious services, meditate, light candles, or spend time in nature? These are all examples of spirituality and spiritual practices. If you do not have a spiritual practice, explore different options to find something that lifts you up. If you already have a spiritual practice, then kudos to you, keep doing what you are doing!

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of this “holistic approach thing”. Remember, we are the sum of our parts. So if one of our parts is out of balance, it will cause the whole to be out of balance.

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