The importance of holistic health in our culture

In modern days we measure health in a series of numbers and diagnosis, which look at the body in groups of individual symptoms and separated entities rather than as a whole system.
 
Western medicine has indeed brought many lifesaving advancements and technologies over the last few decades, however it has created a deeper than ever gap from the traditional “body-wisdom”  approach.

What is holistic health?

Importance of holistic health
 
Holistic healing or holistic health is often defined as a more traditional form of healing that looks at the whole person: body, mind, and spirit. This approach often involves multiple complimentary medicines and alternative healthcare practices that can overlap with modern-day western medicine, but will go beyond the limitation of treating individual symptoms, in favour for a wholistic approach.
 
Traditional medicine has been adopted since the times of indigenous cultures is often called complementary or alternative medicine.
 
It is a combination of ancient knowledge, skills, and practices used to maintain health, as well as to prevent, diagnose, improve, or treat physical and mental illnesses.
 
Another name of alternative medicine is herbal medicine as at the centre of it all are the natural herbs and plants that nature has been providing since the begging of it all.
 
Plants typically contain mixtures of different phytochemicals, also known as secondary metabolites that may act individually, additively, or in synergy to improve health. Indeed, medicinal plants, unlike pharmacological drugs, commonly have several chemicals working together catalytically and synergistically to produce a combined effect that is often greater than the ones of the individual plants.
 
Other commonly used practises in traditional medicine are:
  • Chiropractic
  • Acupuncture
  • Herbalism
  • Massage
  • Energy work (reiki)
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Physical therapy
  • Modern western medicine
  • Nutrition
  • Personal training
 
When all these traditional practises are adopted complimentary the chances for a person to experience a deeper wellness and inner happiness are much higher.

 

Why is holistic health so important?

 
 
While today the life expectancy is much higher, the levels of chronic stress and fatigue have skyrocket.
 
Today we are all consuming nutrient poor foods, we are exposed to hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals through the air, water, cleaning and personal care products on a daily.
 
More and more people, who are suffering with chronic disease or undiagnosable symptoms are starting to turn to the traditional holistic practises, as the modern healthcare has been failing to provide a concrete cure - instead it focuses on “masking” the symptoms.
 
The 5 pillars of holistic health: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and mental.
When it comes to holistic health we are looking beyond the physical body. We are, in fact, talking about physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health. All of these 5 pillars of holistic health are what empowers a person to truly live each day in the healthiest, happiest way possible.  It goes beyond saying that if one of these elements is compromised, most likely other areas will be as well.
 

Physical health

Physical health is what most of us instantly associate with the concept of health and it’s the easiest one of the 5 pillars to “measure” and “diagnose” as the body is the first to show us any signs or symptoms if there’s something wrong.
 
When it comes to supporting your physical health, it’s important to ensure time and space for as many of the below activities in your lifestyle:
  • Get 8 hours of quality sleep per night so that the body can recover from the previous day and regenerate.
  • Eat nourishing and nutrients-rich foods and prioritise plant-based
  • Include 30 minutes of physical activities and movement every day.
  • Avoid or limited as much as possible processed food and sugar.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol consumption.
 

Emotional health

Too often overlooked – our emotional wellbeing is as important as the physical one, especially because it can impact negatively on our physical health when ignored.
 
The below practises are all great way to look after your emotional health:
  • Everything describes above in the physical health section can be equally beneficial for emotional wellbeing.
  • Practising mindfulness through meditation and breathing techniques.
  • Seek out for help and get therapy if you feel it might be beneficial.
  • Keeping a journal where to jot down all your thoughts, worries and feelings can be a great practise for stress and anxiety management.
 

Social health

We are all born social creatures and we thrive when interconnected with other humans.
Researches have shown that the happiest people on earth have all deep and meaningful connections with their family, friends and community.
 
Ways to care for your social health involve:
  • Making time for face to face interactions and building meaningful relationships.
  • Get involved in community works or do something “good” for others. The feeling you get after helping someone altruistically is proven to be one of the quickest and deepest happiness boosters. Doing good does you good!
  • Be conscious of the people you let in your life and set boundaries with the ones who might bring more stress and toxic energy.
 

Spiritual health

Spiritual wellbeing does not necessarily mean that you need to be or become religious, although the two often have overlapping effects. Instead your spiritual health should focus on how you are connecting with your inner soul, with nature and the greater world around you.
 
Ways to support your spiritual health:
  • Spending time in nature and contemplating the astonishing harmony and balance there is all around us!
  • Practising meditation daily – or simply sit or walk quietly while switching off from the hecticness of the daily life.
 

Mental Health

The last but not least aspect of holistic health is our mental health, which can often overlap with both our emotional and physical health. The main difference between mental and emotional wellbeing is that while the first refers mostly to our daily mood and emotions, our mental health refers to the cognitive abilities that affect how our brain functions.
 
Ways to support mental health:
  • Ensuring high hydration is key for optimum brain function.
  • Eating brain nourishing foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids that will help reduce overall inflammation and support cognitive function - such as walnuts, whole-grains, beans, avocados etc.
  • Ensuring plenty of rest (everything we mentioned for emotional wellness).
  • Maintaining the brain active by practising problem solving and learning new things.
  • Maintain a healthy gut as researchers have now (finally) recognised that there’s a direct correlation between the gut health and the brain health. Probiotics, prebiotics, fermented foods and apple cider vinegar are all great aids.
 
 This is why it’s so important to look at health from a holistic point of view, because to truly achieve optimal wellness in the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual sense we have to be viewing and supporting the body as the incredible system it is.
 

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