The idea of holistic healing is one that’s gotten a lot of attention in recent years. So much of our culture focuses on doing the minimum self-care required to jump back into our 24/7 lives. But what happens when that system breaks down and we wind up sicker and more miserable than ever?
Holistic health focuses on the idea that our wellness comes from more than caring for the body. It uses the connection among the mind, body, and spirit to create overall health that brings you better healing. Read on to learn about the basics of holistic health.
Holistic healing traces its roots back to ancient practices in India and China as long as 5,000 years ago. Socrates, too, said, “The part can never be well unless the whole is well.” It wasn’t until 1926 that Jan Christiaan Smuts introduced the term “holism” to refer to the idea of living things as “entities greater than and different from the sum of their parts.”
Ideas about holistic health fell by the wayside with the rise of modern medicine. People started to live unhealthy lifestyles with the idea that they could take a pill to treat their body and ignore the rest of their health. But as we have more and more demands on our lives, the idea of caring for all parts of the self has come back into prominence.
The Connection Among Body, Mind, and Spirit
Holistic health is based primarily on the idea that our mind, body, and spirit are all interwoven. They each affect the other, and an imbalance in one area can lead to problems in all the rest. A healthy lifestyle should care for all of these pieces individually with the aim of improving the wellbeing of the whole.
This connection makes sense when you think about it. We understand that when we work too much or suffer other mental or emotional strain, our bodies suffer. Mindful eating is about caring for both the body and the spirit all at the same time, as is yoga. Exercise helps both the body and the mind, and meditation and time spent with friends are good for the mind and the spirit.
Caring for the Mind
One of the biggest parts of holistic medicine is caring for the mind. Your mind affects all parts of your life, from your mood and emotional state to your physical health. If you’ve ever had a tension headache or a nervous stomach, you’ll know how strongly your mental state can affect your physical health.
Caring for your mind can include aspects of the spiritual and physical as well (as with everything in holistic health). This can encompass getting enough sleep and making sure that your brain has the rest and nourishment it needs to function well. It can also mean reading regularly or doing another activity that engages your mind.
Another part of caring for the mind is seeking help for any mental illnesses you may struggle with. If you find yourself battling anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses, reach out. You can only be your best self if all of you is healthy, and mental illness is an illness like any other – one that needs help and healing from a professional.
Caring for the Spirit
You should also take time to care for your spirit. No matter what your views on the soul or the afterlife are, there is a piece of you distinct from your physical body or your logical mind that is more quintessentially you. It’s important that you take time to care for your spirit and check in with your emotional state.
Meditation and journaling can be an important part of spiritual self-care, as well as exercise and mindful eating. Take time to recognize this part of yourself, to acknowledge its struggles, and to care for it. Whether it’s taking time to go get a massage or going for a run every morning, find a time to be quiet and at peace with this part of you.
Alternative Medicine Augmentation
Many of us know about the usual ways of caring for the body: exercise, healthy diet, and regular visits to a doctor.
And while seeking allopathic medicine is important to the health of a body, incorporating some alternative medicine practices can be helpful to holistic health as well. Massage is a good example of this; it combines both a benefit to the body and a rest for the mind and spirit.
You may also wish to include practices like acupuncture, essential oil therapy, crystal healing, or others into your health practices.
Make sure you are working with trustworthy, licensed practitioners if you choose to do this, just like you would with allopathic medicine. And be sure to continue to follow your doctor’s recommendations; alternative medicine should work together with allopathic medicine to help bring you to greater health.
Interactions with Our Environment
A large part of holistic health focuses on our interactions with our environment and how we impact each other. This affects every part of us, body, mind, and spirit, and we affect our surroundings, too. It’s important that we maintain healthy interactions that benefit both sides as much as possible.
Pay attention to which areas of your life bring you stress and which bring you joy. Think about what you can do to make the stressful interactions better and how you can bring more joyful interactions into your life. Likewise, pay attention to areas where you may be causing stress or joy, and work to improve those areas as well.
Benefits of Holistic Health
Holistic health can have a number of wonderful benefits, not the least of which is better physical and mental health. So many of us feel like we have to run the rat race all day long, and we wind up burned out, sick, and miserable. Focusing on caring for all parts of yourself rather than just swallowing a pill and jumping straight back in can bring huge improvements to your life.
You may find that when you are practicing holistic health, you get sick less often and generally feel better physically. Your emotional state may improve, and you could have more energy and a happier outlook on each day. And most of all, with enough time, you can find a sense of enduring peace that permeates your life, even on the crazy days.
Learn More About Healing
Holistic health is a revolutionary approach to wellness in a world that focuses on bare-minimum health. Many of us are looking for a way to feel happier and more at peace in our day-to-day lives. Holistic health could be the answer we’ve been looking for.
If you’d like to learn more about healing and healthy living, visit the rest of our site at Healing Clouds. We have articles about alternative medicine, holistic healing practices, and natural approaches to health. Check out our full list of practices to learn more about them today.