Holistic healing is a system of healing that seeks to achieve and promote optimal health in the patient by balancing the mind and body, eliminating harmful factors, and using a whole, natural approach to health. Conventional medicine treats isolated problems, but holistic medicine looks at all the possible contributing factors that may be causing the problem when determining the best method to return the body to a healthy state. Holistic health is more than just a therapy to fix a problem; it is ultimately a way of living that seeks to achieve a constant healthy state physically and mentally.
Holistic healing looks at the possible contributing factors that could be causing a disease or medical condition. Holistic healing recognizes that the body is not made up of isolated parts that function or malfunction separately from the rest of the body, but is rather a completely interconnected system. If one area of the system is not working right, leading to disease or chronic illness, a holistic approach would be to look at the body as a whole to determine the source of imbalance rather than treat the specific problem with a drug designed to target the isolated area or disease.
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Whole food is an integral part of holistic healing. Whole foods are foods in their natural state, or as close to their natural state as possible. Examples of whole foods are fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and naturally raised meats. A balanced approach to food means also limiting or completely eliminating such addictive or irritating substances as nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and foods high in salt, sugar and highly processed ingredients.
Holistic healing uses natural medicines to help guide the body back to health. Examples of holistic medicines are western herbal medicinal traditions and eastern herbal medicinal traditions. Conventional medicines use isolated compounds to treat specific areas of disease. Echinacea, an herb used to fight colds and flus, for example, stimulates the immune system to help the body ward off illness rather than directly treating the symptoms of colds and flus. In contrast, herbal medicine uses herbs and herbal extractions in their whole states to support the entire body with some focus on specific areas that need healing.
In the holistic philosophy, a balanced mental state is essential to a balanced physical state. Holistic healing tools include meditation, massage, and an ongoing effort by the patient to minimize negative thought patterns and areas of mental stress. Holistic healing can be used as a complementary therapy when treating a medical condition. Finding a balanced, healthy state is a daily effort to live well and practice self-care.