Holistic Health and Wellness: A Different Approach to Healthcare

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I believe it would be safe to claim that all human beings are enthusiastic, and therefore more motivated, when we have energy and excitement for the life we are living. When we experience these positive sentiments, they causes us to be more motivated, which it becomes positive and cyclical. This cycle of positivity and wellness is the key ideas in the movement of holistic health and holistic medicine. Defined by the American Holistic Health Association, holistic health is “…actually an approach to life. Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit.” The article goes on to explain that rather than take health care one step at a time when a problem arises, the goal is achieving maximum well-being in all areas of life including mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Records show that holistic health practices have been around for thousands of years in various parts of the world. Most significantly, however, these practices have been noted in India and China as far back as 5,000 years ago when practices centered around living a healthy lifestyle “in harmony with nature.” Holistic health concepts began to lose momentum in the western world around the 20th century, and now, with advanced technology and modern medicine, it is widely believed that one can sustain a healthy lifestyle by allowing modern medicine to cure any ailments that arise from it.

I believe, however, that this practice is backwards. Optimum health in all areas should be the goal in everyday life, and there should be less of an initial instinct to turn to drugs for certain illnesses, and rather to mental health, nutrition, and natural remedies. Holistic practices include, but are not limited to: meditation, chiropractic therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, naturopathy, and natural herbs and oils. In addition, the art of healing should be taken as an individual approach rather than simply viewing the person as an example of a specific disease or illness which are all treated the same. This approach should also emphasize patient-physician partnership and trust. Socrates, in 4th century BC, advised against solely treating and focusing on one part of the body at a time by stating, “the part can never be well unless the whole is well.”

Holistic health upholds the idea that all aspects of health are connected and affect one another, just as all aspects of life and the universe affect one another. Though this approach is ancient and still widely practiced in parts of the world, I strongly feel that we (especially the western world), has lost touch with it and this sense of connectivity. In turn, we have fostered a society in which pills are taken as a remedy for all ailments and preventive care is not considered priority. I believe that through the practices behind holistic health and complementary, alternative, and integrative practices different from modern western medicine, we can significantly improve our overall individual health, and by doing so can change our health care system for the better physically and monetarily. Our nation, and ideally world, would be healthier in all components of life, and therefore happier, which could foster a myriad of other positive changes.

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