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SaveHealth & Wellness Holistic Health: A Beginner’s Guide

Holistic Health: A Beginner’s Guide

Learn the holistic definition of health and how holistic medicine techniques can help support your overall wellness. Get examples of holistic healing.

Holistic Health: A Beginner’s Guide

Our health is our livelihood. It’s what enables us to pursue hobbies and activities, have fun with friends and family, and look forward to what every day brings.

If you’re like most Americans, you care about your health, at least from a mental standpoint. A 2020 survey by Optimum Nutrition found 62% of Americans are concerned with their overall health. But nearly the same number (63%) say they’re not as active as they’d like to be.

One way to potentially improve your health is to adopt a holistic healing mindset. As the name sounds, a holistic definition is looking at the whole body and how it affects your overall wellness. Aspects of holistic health include:

  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual
  • Mental
  • Social
  • Spiritual

When you give attention to all these areas in your life, you might see that your efforts boost your overall health. For example, someone who works on their mental health issues may increase their motivation to exercise, which boosts their physical health. You may find that regularly socializing with friends gives you feel-good endorphins that support your mental health, and so on.

If you’re new to holistic health, this beginner’s guide provides more information about what it is and why you may want to consider it for your lifestyle.

What characterizes holistic medicine?

Holistic medicine is an approach that looks at all the potential causes of health problems and works to address them. Take, for example, a headache. It causes pain in your head, but what causes the headache may not be physical. Some people may get headaches due to their diets, because of stress, or due to other lifestyle factors.

Those who want to approach health holistically will look at ways they can improve the health of all aspects of their life in order to feel better physically, as well as to improve their mental health.

Holistic medicine will also use a proactive approach to prevent problems. For example, you might take a multivitamin each day to ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. Some people get massages both for relaxation and to improve blood circulation.

Some holistic health practices include:

  • Acupuncture/acupressure: A practitioner of acupuncture or acupressure will apply either needles or hand pressure to stimulate parts of the body to release energy. These methods can also activate the nervous system.
  • Aromatherapy: Essential oil use can prompt relaxation, stimulate energy, or relieve stress.
  • Ayurvedic medicine: Ayurvedic medicine is using herbal remedies and making nutritional changes to deal with health issues.
  • Chiropractic care: A chiropractor diagnoses and treats neuromuscular disorders and manipulates the neck and spine to improve body functions.
  • Naturopathy: Naturopathy focuses on natural health practices, such as taking dietary supplements and exercising, to improve overall health.
  • Massage: Massage involves applying pressure to muscles and tissues to relax the body and improve blood circulation.
  • Reiki: This energy healing practice uses gentle touch to deliver energy and improve energy flow and balance to promote healing.
  • Yoga: Often called “meditation in motion,” yoga is a physical practice that includes mental aspects like focusing on connecting the breath to body movements.

These are only a few methods of holistic health practices. Holistic health practices don’t replace traditional medical care, but they can complement them.

For example, say you broke your foot and your doctor recommends surgery. You shouldn’t skip the surgery and sniff essential oils to heal. However, you could use essential oils to take your mind off of the pain after surgery and support your mental health as you recover. You might also start a yoga practice after you’ve healed to strengthen your feet and improve your balance and mobility to avoid foot fractures in the future. These practices are holistic health in action. 

How can you incorporate holistic health into your life?

Holistic health is all about improving your mind-body connection, to enable your body to heal faster, and to prevent medical conditions caused or exacerbated by issues like stress.

To incorporate a holistic approach to wellness in your own life, you can add simple actions to your routine. The following are some ideas.

  • Attend an annual doctor's checkup. Holistic medicine places a big emphasis on prevention. Even when you feel like you’re in perfectly good health, an annual checkup with your medical physician can alert you to underlying issues to be aware of. Attending one can also give you peace of mind that your health is indeed in optimal condition.
  • Adopt an exercise routine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, as well as 2 days of muscle-strengthening activities. Aim to reach these exercise goals, which can help prevent issues like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
  • Make over your diet. Excess calories, saturated fats, sugar, and refined carbohydrates can all lead to weight gain and a poor nutritional profile. Use the power of whole, unprocessed, plant-based foods to provide you with the vitamins and minerals your body needs to decrease inflammation and prevent diseases like cancer.
  • Get your Zzzzs. Adults need at least 7 hours of good-quality sleep a night, according to Mayo Clinic. Otherwise, they’re at risk for health issues like stroke, depression, and weight gain.
  • Be more mindful. Mindfulness techniques like meditation can help you relax and decrease stress. When you do feel stressed, deep breathing can help you tune in to your body and focus on the present moment.
  • Connect with loved ones. Since socialization can positively impact happiness and well-being, it’s no surprise that it can even help you live longer. Try to spend time with loved ones and friends regularly to reap the benefits.

You might also visit a holistic health practitioner, such as a masseuse, Reiki healer, chiropractor, or acupuncturist for professional holistic medicine. You may find you prefer a certain holistic health practice for its mental and physical benefits and how it affects your overall health.

Treat your body as a whole

We think it’s fascinating that each body part can drastically impact the others and create a ripple effect, for better or for worse. Your mindset can impact how quickly you recover from an injury, while supporting your mind even when you feel perfectly fine can help you avoid situations that negatively impact your health.

You deserve to feel relaxed, happy, and healthy every day of your life. You might try incorporating some of these holistic health techniques into your routine to see how they benefit you.

If you’re looking for holistic health supplies, like nutritious groceries or relaxing aromatherapy, check your mailer for coupons.