What Does It Mean to Take a Holistic Approach to Health?
In recent years, the term holistic has captured mainstream attention in providing alternative ways to achieve optimal mental health. When one uses the term “holistic,” they refer to an integrative approach involving the mind, body, and spirit. Holistic healing is unique in this way because it offers preventative care as well as curative care.
Holistic and integrative healing can include herbal remedies, nervous system regulation, therapeutic modalities, bodily healing, and spiritual exploration. When seeing a holistic practitioner, they will likely take the time to ask questions about that patient’s life and stressors, rather than just asking about their symptoms.
Practitioners recognize that when there is an imbalance in the patient’s emotional or mental health, it causes imbalances in other places of the body. With this information, the practitioner creates individualized approaches to help the patient achieve optimal, long-lasting health.
The Concept of Holism
The goal of holistic health is to adhere to the concept of “holism” – a principle dating back to over two thousand years ago. Holism states that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. With this information, one can apply the idea that the body’s parts are all interconnected. Therefore, when there is an imbalance in one of the bodily systems, there is an imbalance in all of the bodily systems.
Holism looks at the bigger picture of healing rather than zoning in on one particular symptom or disease. An example of this concept would be the idea of stress. When someone is stressed (psychologically), they can develop headaches, stomach aches, sweating, and more. If the stress persists, cortisol continues to fire, which leaves the adrenal glands in a compromised state. When the adrenals are compromised, the thyroid and pituitary gland are compromised as well.
In recent years, if a patient shows low adrenal function, they are given a corticosteroid and sent on their way without truly addressing the psychological stress that started the process in the first place. In holistic medicine, practitioners are not only addressing the adrenal insufficiency but everything that leads up to or contributed to the insufficiency as well.
Holistic practitioners want to know as much as they can about their patients. They often inquire about their patients’ past experiences, upbringing, their relationship with themselves, and their connection to the world around them. It is common for patients to feel overwhelmed in their first few interactions with their holistic practitioner.
However, deep comfort with a practitioner often follows when recognizing the detail-oriented and attentive care the patient is receiving. The optimal environment for healing is one where the patient feels heard, valued, and validated.
Many practitioners that utilize holistic and integrative approaches are also well versed in supplementation. Supplementation with mental health and psychiatric treatment is beneficial as it addresses one’s biochemistry and potential nutrient deficiencies.
Some common supplements used in conjunction with pharmaceutical treatments are magnesium, Zinc, Omega, Folate, and Vitamin B-12. These additional remedies can be particularly useful in helping the patient achieve complete remission from their symptoms.
Additionally, adaptogens like Ashwagandha and Licorice Root can support the body through life’s stressors. Each person is different, so it is essential for patients to work closely with their provider when introducing supplements into their treatment protocol.
Treatment Includes Examination of Causes, Not Just Symptoms
In Western Medicine, most of the provided care is based solely on the alleviation of symptoms. However, when working with a holistic practitioner, the goal of treatment is to alleviate the patient’s suffering and examine the cause of the suffering. The benefit of taking a holistic approach to treatment is exploring all factors that contributed to a patient’s current state, including past traumas and negative experiences.
While it is likely a patient will receive medication, they might also utilize psychotherapy, exercise, massage, acupuncture, and self-care practices. Compared to traditional remedies, holistic approaches often provide lasting relief because the patient is doing the work. They play a vital role in their own healing.
Four-Fold: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual
Healing with holistic treatment will help a patient explore their options beyond taking a pill once daily. Physically, they may be encouraged to maintain adequate sleep, enjoy lots of nutrient-dense food, and participate in daily movement that is fulfilling to them.
Emotional and mental healing may coincide, but it is essential for individuals to tackle the emotional side of things by examining patterns that do not serve them and practicing detaching from their thoughts. Mental healing may involve therapy, medication, or working closely with their practitioner.
Many people may get scared when thinking of the spiritual aspect of healing, but spirituality is not to be mistaken with religion. Spirituality is found within oneself, within nature, or anything that makes an individual feel connected. Spirituality is known to produce feelings of wellness and aid in the healing process.
Because of this four-fold philosophy, if one aspect is not aligned, it is likely to cause problems in another area of the body. For example, untreated emotional wounds can submerge as autoimmune diseases or gastrointestinal disorders. In order to heal from these experiences, the four-fold approach is applied.
Holistic approaches to health differ from traditional Western Medicine as it treats the patient’s mind, body, and spirit. The patient will receive treatment plans that go beyond just their symptoms. With holistic treatment, practitioners will likely spend much more time with the patient, resulting in the patient feeling heard and valued. At Achieve Concierge, we incorporate holistic practices into our treatment plans and are dedicated to making every patient feel heard and valued. It is crucial for us to maintain accessibility, so we offer same-day appointments to our members. We believe our patients are more than a diagnosis, and we provide more than a cookie-cutter approach to healing. In your time here with us, we will look at what is keeping you stuck and help you heal on a more profound, long-lasting level. You are worthy of deep healing. For more information on mental health treatment, call Achieve Concierge today at (858) 221-0344.