Holistic Health Model
The holistic model of health is centered on the idea that optimal health is not just the absence of disease, pain, or other signs of unhealthiness but rather, upon balancing the whole person including the body, mind, spirit and emotional self. Holistic health practitioners treat a particular problem or symptom but they look at their patients as a whole person and try to help them to improve their overall health in conjunction with helping their patients with a particular problem or complaint. Holistic health seeks to treat the causes of a disease or problem as well as to treat the symptoms of it- not by simply masking them to alleviate them. Holistic health considers that if one part or system in your body is not functioning properly, how other parts and systems in your body are affected. It sees all these parts and systems as interconnections to one bigger, whole system that makes up a person’s physical, emotional, mental and spiritual body.
Holistic health identifies that the body has an energy system that is the support and life for the physical body. Many different holistic health practices include promoting this energy to flow freely in order to allow the body to heal itself the way it was designed to do.
Many view holistic health as a lifestyle and/or approach to life because it incorporates a person’s life as a whole into how it informs and affects the their body.
Holistic health includes many different older and ancient health practices as well as newer ones. These include acupuncture, yoga, mediation, herbalism, naturopathy, and nutrition, to name just a few of the many different avenues for holistic health care.
A holistic health model includes encouraging patients to take an active and proactive role in achieving their optimal health. This includes embracing opportunities to improve their overall health and wellbeing by making healthy lifestyle choices a part of how they will play an active role in improving and maintaining optimal health.
Proponents of the holistic healthcare movement see the holistic health model of functional medicine as the healthcare of the future.
Holistic Health Approaches
Holistic health incorporates a variety of natural, preventative and “alternative” approaches to treating the whole body’s health. Holistic health views the patient as a person- an individual and their whole being- not just their disease or ailments, or symptoms of these.
Holistic health measures an overall positive state of being as part of having optimal health- it does not measure this as simply an absence of problems and disease. And while holistic health care methods do address a patient’s problems they address many other things that may affect a person’s overall health, including but not limited to: diet, exercise, overall activity level, sleep and rest habits, lifestyle, posture, microbiomes, climate factors, environmental factors, home and work environments, stress, anxiety, toxins, mindfulness and sexual health.
An example of how a traditional healthcare practitioner might approach one of those, colds that just won’t go away, compared to how a holistic healthcare practitioner might treat it. The traditional doctor will likely try to treat the cause of the cold and if they do not know what this is, they may try to treat it as something they think it is, as well as treating the symptoms of the cold. If the cold still does not get better, they will likely run tests until they figure out the cause and a cure, or until the cold finally goes away on its own. A holistic healthcare provider will likely treat the cause of the cold if they know it, or things connected to the cold that they do know about, as well as the patient’s symptoms with therapies such as acupuncture, massage or herbs, etc. A holistic healthcare provider will likely delve more into the patient’s life and habits aside from the problems they are having with a cold. They may suggest changes in diet to get rid of foods that may be contributing to the cold as well as incorporating more nutrient dense foods than the patient is already eating. They may look at where the patient lives and recommend air filters for a home or having a professional come in to do a deep cleaning of it, or to change the kind of cleaning products the patient is exposed to, or even to change the kinds of sheets a person sleeps in. Different holistic healthcare providers will differ in their styles and methods. These are just a few of the many things a holistic healthcare provider may do compared to a traditional healthcare provider.
Holistic healthcare recipients are not just patients but active participants in making positive choices and engaging in healthy activities, in order to help themselves and their holistic health care practitioner.
Learn about holistic health care and other health care information with Change Your Mind-Body Health.