For many of us, taking care of our health may involve booking a doctor’s appointment when we’re not feeling 100%. However, these interactions narrow our approach and understanding of our health by limiting our outlook to just treating a specific symptom. The holistic approach to health considers physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing.
What does it mean to take a holistic approach to health? Here, we’ll share some of the basic principles of a holistic approach to health and share some common techniques utilized by holistic practitioners.
What is holistic health?
Through a holistic health approach, the entire body and being is taken into consideration, not just a single system or body part experiencing issues. Your entire self — including mind, body, and spirit —are regarded as one interconnected fabric, and they work together to heal you and keep you healthy. As a result, holistic health is not limited to medications and procedures, but takes lifestyle changes into account as well.
Doctors who practice a holistic approach to health are called naturopathic doctors. They take both conventional and alternative medicine into account while developing a treatment plan. When you have a health concern, a holistic approach to health will take your entire lifestyle into account as well. Your diet, stress levels, exercise regimen, extracurricular activities, and even interpersonal relationships are considered right alongside medical history, bloodwork or diagnostic imaging.
The basic principles of a holistic approach to health
A holistic approach focuses on treating you when you are well. While you might be inclined to call your doctor when you feel incredibly exhausted or nagging back discomfort, the holistic approach aims to improve your health at every stage and state of your whole being.
It’s important to know that the holistic approach to health is a two-way street. Your commitment to your well-being includes a commitment to certain lifestyle changes, such as changes to your diet, exercise routine, or nutritional supplements your naturopathic doctor may recommend.
Finally, a holistic approach to health believes in finding the root cause of a problem, not just alleviating its symptoms. Naturopathic doctors use conventional medicine and diagnostic tools such as bloodwork and imaging to uncover why you’re feeling a certain way, as opposed to treating your symptoms.
Techniques for a holistic approach to health
- 1. Try deep breathing techniques. Stress management is a significant part of holistic health. It impacts every part of our well-being. Techniques such as deep breathing can help you slow down and relax when things around you get overwhelming. Lie down somewhere comfortable and take a long, deep breath. Inhale and exhale slowly and deliberately until you feel calm.
- 2. Check out yoga. Multiple studies, such as this 2005 study published in Medical Science Monitor, have found that yoga lowers the secretion of stress-causing cortisol. With stress impacting nearly every aspect of our lives, keeping it in check is vital for holistic wellness. This ancient practice has the added benefit of stretching and strengthening, too, keeping you limber and in shape.
- 3. Laugh a little -- or a lot. Laughter is the best medicine, as the famous adage goes. That’s backed by science: the Mayo Clinic reports that laughter has several short-term and long-term benefits, including soothing tension and improving your mood. If you needed a reason to rewatch your favorite comedy, here it is.
- 4. Diversify your diet. Good health begins from the inside out. Holistic health practitioners place great emphasis on what’s on your plate. A diet filled with foods which contain high levels of vitamins and minerals is key. Looking for ideas? Try our Superfood Smoothie recipe for breakfast or for a post-yoga boost.
- 5. Try Cannabidiol (CBD). This phytocannabinoid from hemp helps bring balance to your body and mind by supporting sleep, stress, immunity, and recovery*. You can incorporate CBD into your daily routine via a daily capsule. You can also uplift your self-care routine with CBD, like using a bath bomb with Epsom salt or a hydrating face oil.
- 6. Connect with friends. Surrounding yourself with a group of loved ones gets more important as we age. Research published in 2017, which surveyed more than 271,000 adults, found that friendships were associated with overall better health and happiness. A good conversation with a friend can trigger bouts of laughter or help us get something off our chests, both of which are powerful stress-busters. And if distance or otherwise prevents you from meeting for coffee, pick up the phone or hop on a video call.
Shifting to a holistic approach to health
A holistic approach to health takes the well-being of your mind, body, and spirit into account. When something triggers a visit to the doctor, the holistic approach examines all factors which may have caused your issue, whether that’s stress at work or an unhealthy diet.
Importantly, no wellness journey is complete without the advice of a doctor who you trust. Consider making an appointment with a physician who embraces holistic wellness or coordinates care with a holistic physician. This practitioner can help guide your journey to holistic wellness.