I am a firm believer in treating the whole person. With that said, I think that this expression is often misunderstood and even misused. According to the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus, the definition of holistic is as follows:
dealing with or treating the whole of something or someone and not just a part
Many interpret holistic to mean much the same as natural, with manmade chemicals or conventional treatment considered taboo. While this approach can work extremely well for many, it is not always the best route for others. In my case, treating the whole person means taking my anti-seizure medication and using my sinus spray AND incorporating natural healing treatments as well. If I do not take my medication, my risk of seizures increases greatly and I am not going to go down that particular road again if I can help it. Likewise, the sinus spray is the only one that works. I have tried natural sprays, and wish that they worked like this one, but keeping my chronic sinus infection under control is more important than avoiding chemicals in that particular situation.
So, with that in mind, what do we really mean when we talk about treating the whole person? Can you embrace a holistic life and still use chemicals from time to time? Let’s take a look.
What Does Treating the Whole Person Mean?
Every person, doctor, therapist, and alternative practitioner will have a different definition of treating the whole person. In this case, I’m using my own frame of reference, to say what it means to me as a normal, everyday human in today’s world. To me, I think that treatment of the whole person can be described as follows:
Deciding which treatments work.
That means choosing treatments that work not for other people, but for YOU. When you are sick, no matter what type of illness you have or how long you’ve had it, you will always get advice on what to take. Most will insist that they have beaten the same illness with a certain product. This is human nature – we all want to help. What works for one person will not always work for you, however. Whether is a natural treatment or good old-fashioned chemicals, your body will make its own decisions. What is far more important than listening to everyone else’s advice is to listen to your body. Take whatever works best for you.
Aiming for a balanced approach.
Both chemicals and natural treatments have great value to offer in the world of healthcare. A balanced approach will allow you to get the best of both worlds in a way that focuses on integrative healing. Obviously, natural treatments will often have fewer side effects. If an entirely natural or even homeopathic approach works for you, that is great. If you cannot forgo medication, balance is the best way to minimise side effects and keep your body healthy inside and out. I take my seizure medication but I also take supplements and incorporate energy healing into my life, along with meditation, breathing exercises, and other strategies.
Keeping an open mind.
Some chemicals are bad; others save lives. On a similar note, some natural remedies work; others are over-priced snake oil. Some treatment options on both sides may seem outrageous or even downright crazy. This comes back to listening to your own body and mind. Keep your mind open. Consider all potential treatment options. Try those that seem like they may work, even if you are a bit sceptical at first. Look out for biases you may have against alternative or conventional medicine. These may be preventing you from living your best life.
Only you have the power to heal yourself in a way that is right for YOUR needs. Treating the whole person really comes down to taking a well-rounded approach to your own health.