Holistic medicine is known as such because it targets the whole person, rather than just an isolated, specific part of the body such as an organ, like conventional medicine does. The idea with holistic health is that our health and wellness occurs on every level – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. They’re all connected, if something goes awry with one, a disease can manifest within any one of them. At the same time, when we cure a mental illness, for example, a physical disease can and often does, go away.
Holistic therapies get to the root of the problem, rather than simply putting a superficial bandage on a symptom, as so often is the case with conventional therapies. They also turn to the vast wisdom of Mother Nature for healing, instead of man-made pharmaceuticals. Holistic medicine and alternative therapies believe that there is a cure in nature and that along with the body’s natural healing mechanisms, a person can be healed without turning to drugs, which are risky and have way too many toxic side effects.
If you’ve done yoga, you’ve explored the depths of holistic medicine. Yoga may seem like just a bunch of physical exercises, but if you’ve ever cried on your yoga mat like happens to many, you know that the effects of the physical practice go much deeper. There are issues in your tissues, as they say, and the yoga practice allows for healing to take place by opening up different parts of the body through physical movements and breath work. No pill is needed for this kind of healing.
If you’ve ever done yoga, you’ve probably experienced a kind of peaceful mental state that happens as you lie in savasana. This is a great example of the mind-body connection. When you move your body while slowing and elongating your breath, your mind is positively affected, and you often think and feel like a different person after a good yoga class. Meditation works on your mind as well – clearing away the mental cobwebs that leave us believing unhealthy thoughts or seeing things through dirty lenses. People who meditate have lower stress and lower blood pressure – another great example of the connection of body and mind. Doing an exercise on the mind positively affects physical aspects of your body.
Included within the umbrella of what we refer to as holistic therapies is also the field of energy work. You might have heard of reiki and craniosacral therapy. These are two popular forms of energy medicine to explore if you feel called. With so many holistic therapies and practitioners out there, it can seem a bit overwhelming as to where to begin. Just choose a healing modality that speaks to you – massage, acupuncture, yoga, meditation, etc. – and allow your intuition to guide you to wellness.
Written by: Aimee Hughes