One massage client was a young woman facing a systemic health issue. To resolve it, she already had taken steps to change her relationship with food, to alter her exercise regimen, and to incorporate herbs and bodywork into her life. Though none of these important steps had made a notable change for her yet, she realized that restoring health is never a one-time event. Rather, it is a journey along roads that may be clear and straight for a time, filled with potholes at others, and sometimes just end all together, leaving the traveler to experiment with new solutions to identify a more appropriate health regimen highway. This client was doing just that.
When we speak about holistic health, we assume each has the same picture of what we mean. Perhaps we are thinking about acupuncture, yoga therapy, or meditation we are benefiting from, or some other physical practice outside mainstream medical prescriptions or surgeries to make us feel better. Consider, however, that such practices are only one part of the health equation.
The four aspects of holistic health – body, mind, emotions, and spirit – are each deeply woven into the other three. Modern science has shown how emotions affect our biology at a cellular level and how our beliefs impact our mental health and physical well-being. If you are interested in learning more two wonderful books on the subject are: Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert, Ph.D. and the Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton, Ph.D. Being willing to reflect on how our experiences, both as individuals and within he context of our family history and culture, form our beliefs and emotions is an important step on the journey to holism.
Holistic health also moves beyond our own body, mind, emotions and spirit into the environments in which we live. Why should we not find ways to transform our communities into places of health, wealth, beauty, and well-being for all? Already some communities have developed around farms growing organic food for diverse members. Perhaps we can find ways for holistic health practices to similarly radiate out to local communities. Perhaps the time is coming when health will be determined not by drops in age-related physical problems and diminished pain, but by the interweaving of our physical health, clear minds, and all-embracing hearts. Who would not want to travel such a road to health?