If you are a tag reader like I am, you may have noticed all my posts include the word holistic. You may understand the concept, but my idea of it encompasses more than what’s normally considered. For that reason, I’d like to take the opportunity to explain.
First, I want to share a definition from the American Holistic Nurses Association: Holistic health is an approach to life where the whole person is valued. Rather than focusing on specific parts, holistic health considers the person’s body, thoughts, emotions, spirit and interaction with others and the environment.
All of our earliest healing traditions are holistic, including Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Traditional European Medicine. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, asserted, It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has. Modern Western Medicine began as holistic, but now, the majority of its practices involve addressing particular issues with little regard for the whole person. This tendency to compartmentalize helps explain the long list of side effects often associated with surgeries and medications.
There are some holistic therapies practiced in the US. They include acupuncture, acupressure, reflexology, massage, cupping, chiropractic care, and aromatherapy. Even yoga and Tai Chi can be added to the list, making you your own practitioner. And meditation is a holistic therapy that can get you in touch with the very ground of your being.
The American-born theoretical physicist David Bohm referred to his body as a microcosm of the macrocosm. (Hmmmmm, where have I heard that phrase?) In his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, he writes, We must learn to view everything as part of Undivided Wholeness in Flowing Movement. I really like that idea.
The idea of interdependence plays a starring role in this philosophy. (Read more on that in this post.) The health of everything in the human body, mind, and spirit is dependent on the condition of the whole. Our interactions with and the well being of our Primal Mother are a huge part of that. Some examples: we can become depressed with too little exposure to Nature. Our lungs can suffer from breathing toxic air. The liver can become stressed when our water is infused with chemicals. Our gut’s lining & microbiome can become dysfunctional as a result of eating foods that are grown from lab-modified seeds in nutrient-poor soils. And due to our body’s internal interdependence, these health issues affect other organs, our blood, nervous system, energy levels, and attitude.
Making strides toward a more holistic lifestyle is important for all of us, both individually and collectively. These are a few of my suggestions:
- Ask for alternatives or adjuncts to medications or procedures. If your physician is not open to – or knowledgeable of – natural approaches, maybe look for a new one.
- Choose organic, non-GMO, fair-trade, & sustainable foods. Entire forests are being destroyed for the purpose of producing the palm oil found in peanut butter and other foods. (Alliteration unintended.) Don’t buy it unless the label indicates it’s sustainably grown.
- Avoid single-use plastics. If not recycled, which is common, plastic can stay in a landfill more than 100 years before decomposing. If you purchase bottled water, buy it in glass or 2.5 gallon containers. Better yet, take your own containers into a refill station each week. And when you shop, use your own bags.
- Stay away from unethical investing. If you buy stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and the like, let your investment advisor (IA) know that you are interested only in ethical investments. For example, you don’t want to put money into companies that exploit poor populations by paying pennies a day for labor (more unintended alliteration) or “benefit” from environmental destruction. If your IA is ignorant of such practices (or claims to be) find one who is willing to make these concerns a priority.
In general, I believe living holistically boils down to this: practicing what best serves your life while also choosing to do the right thing for the whole. In your process of making daily decisions, keep in mind our undivided wholeness, upon which we are all dependent for long, healthy, happy lives.
The content of this article is for educational and informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice. Please consult with a qualified health care professional before acting on any information presented herein. Any statements about the possible health benefits of any subject discussed have not been evaluated by medical professionals or the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or illness.