Many of us grew up thinking that to be healthy just means “not being sick”. However, there’s a whole lot more to health than we previously thought. Western medicine has done wonders to make the world a safer place for everyone, yet many of us still feel that something is lacking within the discipline. A holistic approach to health and wellbeing is oriented towards supplementing what western medicine lacks, which is guidance on how to live an optimally healthy and vibrant life.
At Breathe Life Healing Centers, we treat a range of conditions that affect mind, body, and spirit. Addiction, mental illness, self-harming behaviors: these conditions affect an individual’s entire life and require a holistic approach to treatment. We view our clients as whole and complete beings, not just medical patients in need of a prescription. We urge you to consider adopting some of the holistic health values into your everyday life; after all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
A Holistic Approach to Health and Wellbeing: Key Terms
Let’s start with a quick review of some of the buzzwords and esoteric holistic slang you may have heard.
- Holistic Medicine: The definition of holistic medicine is the belief that both the physical and mental aspects of life are closely connected and factor into the overall health and wellness of a person. Various practices fall underneath this broad umbrella term.
- Wellness: We opened the article on the topic of the broadness of the term “health”. It means more than just not currently having any illnesses, it means optimal physical and mental functioning. Wellness is an even broader term, including health as well as the condition of our emotional, spiritual, creative, social, and professional worlds.
- Western Medicine: We’ve gone over holistic medicine, but what exactly is western medicine? It’s the leading health viewpoint in the United States and Europe. Western medicine refers to medical doctors, pharmaceuticals, and the healthcare institution as we know it. The main focus of western medicine is treating diseases and injuries, not so much maintaining or optimizing health. Western medicine does not include or support alternative treatments like acupuncture and herbalism.
A Holistic Approach to Health and Wellbeing: Myths & Misconceptions
There’s a lot of bad information out there about what a holistic health model really is. Some associate it with “hippies” and fanaticism, but that’s neither a fair or accurate way to look at a holistic approach to health and wellbeing. Here are some of the popular misconceptions out there:
- A holistic lifestyle means never visiting the doctor or taking medicines.
- You have to be rich, high class, or a certain race to achieve the necessary lifestyle for holistic health.
- A holistically healthy lifestyle involves mysticism and specific spiritual beliefs.
- Holistic health practitioners are quack doctors, and they just make things up without any scientific evidence.
- The holistic approach to health and wellbeing means taking a bunch of herbal supplements and different vitamins.
Okay, let’s examine these myths one by one
First of all, myth #1 is often used as a way to de-legitimize the holistic health movement.
There have been instances where some individuals have rejected medicine because of their beliefs and fell ill or died because of it. However, visiting the doctor and taking medicine is actually perfectly acceptable for holistic health. The idea is to use medicines only when absolutely necessary to avoid excess.
Myth #2 is a very common misconception.
For some reason, we have this stereotyped image of a holistic health practitioner as an uber-rich Gwyneth Paltrow type mixing up $200 breakfast smoothies. However, let’s get real: living healthy doesn’t require wild breakfast smoothies, it just requires personal commitment. By making a few inexpensive lifestyle changes to protect your health early, you may be able to avoid losing money to doctors and prescriptions.
Myth #3 is an exaggeration of a real component of holistic health.
Yes, the holistic approach to health and well-being addresses the needs of the human spirit, but there is no specific teaching, scripture, or any sort of requisite belief. It’s not a religion.
The holistic health movement actually has quite a bit of scientific support.
As with any specialty, there are individuals out there making false claims. However, it wouldn’t be fair for us to generalize myth #4 based on just a few people. Numerous psychological and medical studies support the notion that mental health and physical health significantly affect each other.
“Health” food stores often have racks and racks of obscure sounding herbs and compounds.
It might seem like you need to buy all of these supplements, but myth #5 is just that, a myth. Supplements can be helpful in certain situations, but the holistic approach to health and wellbeing is about so much more than just powders and potions. It’s about diet, exercise, consciousness, emotional wellness, and making good life choices to protect your long-term wellbeing.
If you’re struggling in one or more areas of your life and wish to achieve a healthier lifestyle, reach out to us at Breathe. Our residential treatment specializes in treating everyone as a full, complete individual with physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.