The holistic lifestyle approach is becoming more and more mainstream all the time. But the truth is, most holistic healthcare modalities are ancient, traditional, and have been practiced for centuries.
Holistic health means something different to everyone, but in general, it’s about looking at the big picture and being aware of how the choices you make every day affect your health.
Rather than picking up one or two healthy habits, going holistic means leading a lifestyle of mindful living and being aware of the impacts of your actions.
Taking a holistic approach can transform your health, mentally, physically, and spiritually. Let’s take a look at what taking a holistic approach to your health really means, why you should try it, and where to start.
What is holistic health?
In a nutshell, holistic health means considering the whole person in the path to healing, including the mind, body, and soul. It recognizes that you are made up of many interconnected parts, and each part affects the others to some degree.
But it doesn’t end there. A holistic approach to health also considers how stress, your environment, and your lifestyle are affecting your health. When any one of these factors is out of balance, the entire being is affected.
A holistic approach puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to making mindful and informed choices about your health. It recognizes that you can make significant and positive changes through education, self-reflection, lifestyle, and by making mindful and informed choices about how you live your life.
A holistic health practitioner considers themselves to be a partner in your healthcare journey. They are there to support you and guide you, but the real emphasis is on you learning what makes you feel good, what makes your symptoms worse, and especially, what nourishes you as a whole.
Reasons to Go Holistic
Safe and Natural: In general, holistic health utilizes a safer, more natural approach to maintain overall health and address illness.
Wider Range of Options: Holistic health uses a wide variety of strategies to support overall health and wellbeing. From nutrition and herbal medicine to functional medicine and acupuncture, there are limitless options to try. For the most part, you’ll have the same experience at every conventional doctor’s office you visit, but each experience with a holistic practitioner can be quite different, depending on the modality you decide to try.
A More Personalized Approach: While conventional doctors rush many patients in and out of the office each day, holistic practitioners take the time to really listen to their patients. They want you to tell them about your symptoms and lifestyle so they can create an effective holistic treatment plan that addresses your entire being.
You’re in Control: A holistic approach puts you in control of your health. You have a say in your treatment plan as well as what’s being put into your body.
More Flexibility: A trip to the conventional doctor will often end with a prescription, whether you want one or not. A holistic approach is more open minded and allows you to explore other options, depending on your goals, needs, and lifestyle.
It’s also important to know that holistic medicine doesn’t have to be an all or nothing approach. In fact, it’s not uncommon for holistic practitioners to recommend conventional treatments if that’s what’s best for the patient.
There’s no reason you can’t see a conventional doctor and a holistic practitioner at the same time. Many holistic treatments can be used in conjunction with conventional medicine, too.
Just be sure to let all of your practitioners know what medications and supplements you are taking to avoid possible interactions.
Avoid Addiction and Dependency Issues: Holistic medicine relies on alternative treatments for pain that don’t come with dependency issues and dangerous side effects. In many cases, these natural treatments work just as good as, if not better than, prescription medications.
Where to Start Your Holistic Journey
Here are some good starting points for your holistic health journey.
Nutritional medicine is a great place to get started on the holistic path because nutrition plays such a major role in our health, both mentally and physically. Eating a healthy diet is at the core of holistic self-care.
Start by making healthy changes to your diet. Focus on eating a wide variety of whole foods each day, with an emphasis on fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein, seeds, nuts, and healthy fats.
According to MBSF’s custom vitamin reviews, “Even if you do your best to eat a well-rounded diet filled with lots of fruits and vegetables, you likely still have some gaps in your nutrition.” Nutrient deficiencies can have a tremendous impact on your mental and physical health, so be sure to include a multivitamin in your daily routine.
In addition to making the switch to a clean diet and taking a daily vitamin, you may also want to consider a visit to a holistic nutritionist. They can help you identify any deficiencies in your diet through blood work, and a variety of personal factors, including climate, lifestyle, environmental stressors, and genetics.
Then, they’ll help you create an eating and supplement plan that supports your health care goals and addresses any symptoms you may be having, such as fatigue, high blood pressure, and more.
Incorporating herbal supplements into your daily routine is a great way to start looking after your health on a holistic level. Herbal medicine is one of the most ancient methods of holistic self-care, and there’s nothing more natural than using plants to support your health and wellbeing.
Herbal supplements can be used to support your entire being. Use them to boost your immune system, reduce pain and inflammation throughout your body, reduce stress, and much more. Here are some examples:
Elderberry: Elderberry supports the immune system. It can be used to lower your risk of colds and flu and minimize the symptoms if you do get sick.
Turmeric: Curcumin is an active compound found in the spice turmeric. It has been shown to lower systemic inflammation and can be an effective, all-natural pain reliever.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that helps the body manage stress and anxiety. It can also be very beneficial for boosting brain function, even in those with neurodegenerative conditions. Other studies suggest that it can also boost testosterone and improve fertility in men.
Holy Basil: Holy Basil, sometimes called Tulsi, is another excellent herb for managing stress. It also supports cognitive function and works as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.
Ginger: Most of us are familiar with ginger for cooking, but it also has medicinal effects. Use it to relieve stomach upset and support good digestion. It’s also an excellent immune booster.
If you’re considering going holistic, you might want to start working with a functional medicine practitioner. Their philosophy is all about identifying and targeting the root cause of illness, rather than simply treating the symptoms.
A functional medicine practitioner often uses bloodwork and other tests to identify issues and create a personalized holistic healthcare plan. Dietary changes, lifestyle changes, herbal and nutritional supplements, sleep support, exercise, stress management, hormonal health, and mind/body awareness will likely be the core recommendations of a functional medicine treatment plan.
Wrapping Things Up
Chiropractic care, aromatherapy, massage, Ayurveda, acupuncture, and mindfulness are all excellent practices to try in your journey to holistic health, too. The point is to be open minded and find what works best for you through experimentation and self-education. Remember, this is your journey to holistic health, and you’re the one in the driver’s seat.