What is Holistic Health?

Your introduction to understanding Holistic Health.


7/2/20235 min read

What is Holistic Health?
What is Holistic Health?

What is Holistic Health?

When considering our health and well-being, we often think about it in segments—our physical health, mental health, and so on. This common but limited perspective may not fully address all aspects of our well-being wellbeing. A more comprehensive way to think about health is the holistic approach. The holistic health concept considers the whole person—body, mind, spirit, and emotions—in the quest for optimal health and wellness.

The Holistic Perspective

According to the holistic health philosophy, one can achieve optimal health by gaining proper balance in life. Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person comprises interdependent parts. If one part is not working properly, all the other details will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.

Holistic practitioners use all forms of health care, from conventional medication to alternative therapies, to treat a patient. For example, when a person suffering from migraine headaches visits a holistic doctor, instead of walking out solely with medications, the doctor will likely take a look at all the potential factors that may be causing the patient's headaches, such as other health problems, diet and sleep habits, stress and personal issues, and preferred spiritual practices.

Core Principles of Holistic Health

The holistic approach to health also focuses on the importance of love, compassion, and support in healing. The holistic approach acknowledges that the physical body, mind, and spirit are intertwined and that each component must function well for the person to experience good health.

A fundamental principle of the holistic approach is the knowledge that health is not just the absence of disease but a dynamic state of balance in a living energy system. This perspective ties closely to functional medicine in the United States, which defines health as a positive vitality, not merely the absence of disease.

A Glimpse into Functional Medicine

A functional medicine approach dives into the root cause of disease and aims to treat the entire body, not just symptoms. It provides a method for re-balancing the body's underlying physiological systems and addressing lifestyle issues contributing to illness. A functional medicine doctor may spend time with patients, assessing the patient's history, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices that can lead to health problems.

The functional medicine approach involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic diseases. Hallmarks of a useful medicine approach include patient-centered care, an integrative, science-based healthcare approach, and looking at the body's interconnectedness.

Mind-Body Connection

A crucial component of the holistic health approach is the idea of a mind-body connection. The premise is that physical health is linked to and dependent upon our mental and emotional health. The mind-body connection recognizes that emotional, mental, and behavioral factors can affect our health.

Holistic health and functional medicine integrate the physical connection to our mental and emotional health. The mind can affect "bodily functions and symptoms," and the body can influence "thoughts and behavior." For example, stress and anxiety can lead to physical health problems like heart disease, while physical problems can lead to mental distress.

The Future of Holistic Health

More people than ever before are integrating holistic health practices into their lifestyles as they realize that traditional medicine does not always offer the most comprehensive or satisfactory solutions to health issues. Understanding the concept of holistic health and what functional medicine is is a step towards empowering individuals to take control of their well-being.

The future of holistic health looks bright as more individuals seek to optimize their health and well-being across all aspects of their lives. Holistic health and functional medicine represent powerful tools in this quest, offering comprehensive, individualized, and patient-centered approaches rooted in lifestyle and behavior change.

By recognizing the intricate interconnections between all aspects of our lives and how they influence our health, we can all become more proactive in our health and wellness journey. Embracing a holistic health perspective is about healing illness and living a fulfilling, healthy life.

*This blog post has been written for informational purposes. Always consult a healthcare provider before starting or changing treatments, supplements, or wellness plans.

Holistic Health FAQ

How does Holistic Health differ from Traditional Medicine?

Traditional medicine often focuses on treating the symptoms of a disease, while holistic health looks at the illness's underlying causes and the body's overall state. It focuses on the body, mind, spirit, and emotions to achieve optimum health and wellness.

What is the main philosophy behind Holistic Health?

The main philosophy behind holistic health is that all parts of a person are interdependent. If one part isn't functioning properly, it can impact all other parts. Therefore, imbalances in any aspect can negatively affect overall health.

How does a Holistic Approach treat health issues?

A holistic approach treats health issues by examining all factors that contribute to a disease or health concern. It looks at physical, emotional, spiritual, and environmental factors, emphasizing the natural balance of these aspects.

What is Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person—body, mind, spirit, and emotions—in the quest for optimal health and wellness.

What types of therapies are used in Holistic Medicine?

Holistic medicine can include a range of therapies such as diet and exercise, psychotherapy, acupuncture, chiropractic care, natural products, yoga, meditation, and spiritual healing.

What is Alternative Medicine?

Alternative medicine is a term that describes medical treatments that are used instead of traditional (mainstream) therapies.

How does Holistic Health view the mind-body connection?

Holistic health views the mind-body connection as fundamental to overall wellness. This perspective asserts that mental and emotional factors can directly impact physical health and vice versa.

What is the role of diet and nutrition in Holistic Health?

In holistic health, diet and nutrition are key factors in overall wellness. A balanced, nutritious diet is believed to improve health, prevent disease, and aid healing.

Can Holistic Health include conventional medicine?

Yes, holistic health can include conventional medicine. It is an inclusive approach that utilizes all forms of health care—traditional and alternative—to treat a patient.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a medical practice or treatment focusing on the optimal functioning of the body and its organs, usually involving holistic or alternative medicine systems.

How does Functional Medicine differ from traditional medicine?

Functional medicine addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership.

What is the goal of Functional Medicine?

The primary goal of functional medicine is to promote health as a positive vitality beyond just the absence of disease.

What does a Functional Medicine doctor do?

Functional medicine doctor spends time with their patients, examining their histories and considering the environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease.

Can Functional Medicine treat chronic disease?

Functional medicine provides a method for re-balancing the body's underlying physiological systems and addressing lifestyle issues that can lead to chronic disease.

Can stress and emotions affect physical health?

Yes, according to the principles of holistic health, stress, and emotions can directly impact physical health.

What is a mind-body connection in Holistic Health?

The mind-body connection recognizes that emotional, mental, and behavioral factors can affect our health.

Does Functional Medicine use prescription drugs?

Functional medicine can use prescription drugs, supplements, therapeutic diets, detoxification programs, or stress-management techniques.