By Kathy Ryndak and Gord Riddell
In days gone by our health care was seen to by the resident family specialist who knew all the folk remedies to take care of whatever was ailing us. If in doubt or for more serious ailments, the shaman or wise woman may be have been consulted. Their combined knowledge of plants, herbs and the healing properties of the natural world soon had us back on our feet experiencing life.
With the advent of the microscope a new understanding of our inner physical workings came to light. The concept of infectious agents like bacteria and viruses would forever change the face of health care. The advent of hygiene and then drugs would soon make natural health care obsolete for many people. A pill became the solution to any if not most problems.
In the shift from folk medicine to allopathic medicine we have given up much of our own responsibility to learn from the illness and given our power to the latest medical discovery. Now, there is no denying for a second the changes that medicine has brought to the human condition. We live longer and die less often from natural events like childbirth. A broken bone is reset and we are left with little, if any disability, from the event. People rarely die from the common cold.
The question becomes in this age of mounting health care costs and cut backs, what more can we do to take back greater responsibility for own health care? This is truly why the concept of Holistic Health is so crucial at this time. Not just to cut costs but to reclaim our responsibility in own wellness. Holistic Health Care when properly and fully applied is multi-faceted and dynamic. Here are some of the areas that Holistic Health embraces.
- Body Work- whether it be Swedish, Shiatsu, Reflexology they all provide an important role in releasing blocked energy and muscles but also they re-enforce the importance of touch in our wellness.
- Aromatherapy- not only provides the above advantages of bodywork but also is enhanced by the use of aromas and fragrances, which stimulate and/or soothe our immune and nervous systems. No home should be without lavender to soothe us and citrus scents to stimulate and clear our thoughts.
- Herbal medicine and Homeopathy- provide important and complementary adjuncts to any treatment program.
- Diet and Exercise- goes without saying the importance of these two areas in any wellness program. The research is pretty irrefutable as to their benefits.
- Clear old emotions- The more old hurts and anger we hold onto from our past, the more problems we will potentially have with our health. The key here is not just to be aware of them but to actually clear and transform the old energies into something we can learn from and put into our history. Recycling our old feelings is not good for the environment or our body!
- Let go of situations and relationships that no longer work for us- Moving on is part of the human experience. Many people get stuck and then ill, if they do not allow the natural movement of life to be part of their experience.
- Know your inner dialogue- we all have beliefs and messages from the past that we use to stop us in our tracks from doing what we need to do. We use these same messages to beat ourselves up with. All affect the robustness of our life.
- Looks for a deeper meaning for our experiences- This idea is based on the concept that things happen to us at the physical and emotional levels in order for us to more closely examine our life and see what or where we may need to shift or learn. It is NOT a concept we use to beat our self up with because we are sick. It is a tool to move forward, with or without our illness.
- Spiritual Tools - Meditation, yoga, prayer, the use of sound are only a couple of the tools that the spiritual area can provide to us to enhance our search for deeper meaning and wellness. All the research studies to date back up the importance and effectiveness of these tools.
- Spiritual Clarity- a knowledge of the human soul and its needs will move us from emotional recycling and the 'Why me" syndrome toward understanding and inner peace about our life, our health and our journey.
The above list of areas embraced by the Holistic Practitioner barely touches on the vastness of this important and comprehensive approach to health and wellness. It does need to be stressed that this is not an either or situation, with Holistic on one side and Allopathic medicine on the other. The two can and do work together very nicely. While acute medical needs such as accidents, heart attacks, and severe infections are blessed with the knowledge and expertise of the allopathic medical community, Holistic treatment when done knowledgably can enhance and speed up a person's recovery time.
Much of what we need to do in taking back personal responsibility lies within prevention. The Holistic approach to wellness addresses many areas of our lives and provides tools to potentially circumvent illness before it takes its toll on our life. Our resistance to change is probably the biggest stumbling block to lifestyle and emotional shifts which would enhance our wellness. Our innate need to maintain the status quo even if it is hurting us is a leading contributor to our lack of well being.
The Holistic Practitioner addresses these areas not only for themselves, but those who help others professionally, do enormous service in the health and wellness of individuals. Human's are very complex and need to be treated accordingly. All things are interconnected at many different levels and the kindest thing we can do is recognize that complexity and address as many levels of the human experience that is available for us to learn from and to enhance, in our self and in others.