Holistic health is an approach to healthcare that considers the person as a whole. It involves a variety of methods, primarily complementary, alternative, and integrative health practices. Examples of such practices include acupuncture, meditation, and homeopathy. Holistic health seeks to treat not only one’s physical state, but also the other dimensions of their health.
However, a deeper dive into holistic health shows that it is closely related to the idea of wellness. Wellness refers to the active pursuit to reach an ideal state of health. Moreover, it’s largely believed to encompass not only one’s physical body, but also mental wellbeing.
Five Aspects of Holistic Health
The physical aspect is often the first thing people think of when it comes to health. While, yes, it is a crucial aspect of one’s health, it is not the be-all and end-all. Your physical body can manifest your pain, stress, and fatigue. Thus, it’s your most direct way of knowing the state of your health. To care for it, maintain a healthy lifestyle and have regular check-ups with a medical doctor. However, note that the body also lets out non-physical signals to alert you about any health issues. This is where the other aspects come in.
Your social health is another aspect of your overall health and wellness. It involves your interactions with friends, loved ones, coworkers, and whomever else. To maintain it, foster bonds with other people. Conversely, set your boundaries with individuals who are stressful or toxic. A good balance will help improve your overall social health.
Your emotional health refers to your everyday thoughts, feelings, and, of course, emotions. Though it’s not as simple as it may seem. Being happy doesn’t automatically mean you’re emotionally healthy. Emotional health also involves the grittier parts of feelings. For example, a good sign of emotional health is knowing how to process negative emotions, like anger or grief. Thus, a person who knows how to manage their emotions is emotionally healthy.
Yes, mental health is distinct from emotional health. While the emotional aspect refers to your day-to-day dealing with your emotions, mental health encompasses most of your cognitive functions and abilities. That being said if you want to take care of your mental health, always look to challenge yourself and get your brain working. Indulge in your hobbies, be it a sport or an art. This way, you attain happiness that feeds into your emotional health, and stimulates your brain to improve your mental health.
Lastly, there’s spiritual health. This doesn’t at all require you to follow a religion. Spiritual health simply refers to your connection to yourself and seeing it as a part of the world around you. Striving to find your purpose or what you want to do in life is an excellent way to nurture your spiritual health. This is mainly because it gives you a clear idea of who you want to be and how that relates to your place on earth.
How the Healthcare Sector Can Further Holistic Health
Holistic health prioritizes harmony, and this is a practice that would very much benefit the healthcare sector as a whole. This wide view of individual health can help healthcare professionals see their patients as a whole, rather than just looking at actual symptoms that need to be treated.
However, holistic health practices are not particularly commonplace in mainstream healthcare and are even shunned by other medical practitioners. Although there is already a growing number of holistic health practitioners in the field, it’s worth noting that not all of them are licensed holistic doctors.
Therefore, you must do your research before consulting with a holistic practitioner. Some examples of licensed holistic doctors include osteopaths, integrative physicians, and Ayurvedic doctors. All these professionals hold official accreditations and are, thus, qualified to conduct holistic treatments.
Although to truly incorporate holistic healthcare into mainstream practice, healthcare professionals must recognize the benefits. In particular, health administrators must acknowledge this as they are in leadership positions in hospitals, clinics, and other such health facilities.
A Broader Scope
Modern educational opportunities, be it traditional or online health administration degrees, should provide a broader scope when delivering healthcare practices alongside its courses on human resources, health policy, and ethics. This is so that future healthcare leaders acquire a wider view of medicine, encompassing both Western and non-Western medicine.
In today’s modern age, many things are changing. Multiple aspects of the healthcare sector are shifting to more holistic and patient-centered approaches.
Following this shift, different treatment methods arise, such as alternative medicine, psychedelic medicine, and spiritual health practices. With the abundance of treatments now available, it’s important to keep an open mind and remember that you must care for yourself as a whole, and not simply as a physical body.
B. Jensen (pen name) works as a school counselor and is a mother to two wonderful kids. In her free time, she enjoys reading sappy romance novels and taking long walks in the park.
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