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What is Holistic Health?

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What is holistic health?

(And why should it interest me?)

Holistic health refers to the idea that health is expressed as a result of your full experience as a human, versus the experience of one or more of your parts. By definition, "to heal" means "to make whole." Therefore, people who follow a holistic approach to health encourage you to explore your entire life and experience as part of your health-promoting goals.

According to this philosophy, your liver won't be unhealthy in isolation. Neither will any other individual part of your body express ill health on its own — your back, your neck, your allergies, your heart, or your vulnerability to disease processes like cancer. The pattern that ultimately leads to physical illness, injury, or disease will be found elsewhere in your experience as well.

To a holistic health practitioner, it is inconceivable that a person could expect to heal heart disease, for example, and not address the fact that he or she experiences life in isolation. That a person could expect to heal cancer and not be willing to deal with his or her underlying fears and resentments. That a person could expect to heal lower back pain without looking at the ongoing power struggles in his or her life.

A holistic practitioner might encourage you to look at the state of your home or yard, for example. Is it well taken care of, or have you let things go? If you've let things go on the outside, we have to assume that your body reflects the same principles on the inside.

How do you model the behavior you expect from your immune system? Do you give up easily, playing the victim, or do you persist until your most important results are achieved? Your immune system takes its cue from you. A holistic practitioner will encourage you to set a healthy model for your immune system by refusing to give up on your goals and dreams.

How well have you learned to express your unique talents and skills in the world? Do you know yourself well enough to state confidently, right now, what they are? Are you actively sharing those talents in the world? If you think it's "selfish" to do what you're good at, then guess again.

You came here for a reason and you have a responsibility to fulfill it. The frustration you feel if you aren't at least moving in that direction is more than frustration — it's your fractured integrity screaming at you to pay attention. Denying your strengths denies the value of your existence here on earth. A holistic practitioner would consider that, to be quite blunt, a death wish.

No one expects you to be perfect, of course – ultimately we're all "works in progress." The point is to be an active participant in making that progress.

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