Holistic Therapy Day is celebrated on July 26 each year. Holistic therapy treats the human body as a synergy of mind, body, and soul. It aims to bring a harmonious balance among all the elements of the being. Unlike modem medicine, it does not treat an ailment or disease as an isolated problem. Holistic therapy believes every being is an amalgamation of their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects, so, recommends a comprehensive treatment that works towards nurturing all of them.
Holistic therapy supports that an imbalance in one aspect of the self can cause distress in another. For instance, prolonged mental stress has the potential to transform into physical sickness, hence, it aims to heal holistically rather than palliatively.
The practice of holistic therapy extends beyond the therapy room. A self-care practice that centers and nurtures all our senses falls under the umbrella of holistic therapy.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, believed that our body holds the ability to heal itself. He envisioned that the greatest medicine would be the ability to heal without medicine.
Holistic therapy has stemmed from this 2,000-year-old idea. Even today, before starting any holistic practice, a mutual goal is set by the caregiver and the patient. Once they can achieve this goal, the person can continue on their healing journey independently.
The practice of symptom-based treatment rocketed in 1970 when the pharmaceutical industry boomed. Consecutively, due to the lack of empirical evidence, holistic therapy was shunned as ‘alternate medicine’. But, in recent years, there has been a shift in how people view holistic therapy. Medical practitioners have started acknowledging the power of a holistic approach. There is a growing awareness of the mind-body connection. More and more people are engaging in activities that help balance the ‘energy centers’ or ‘chakras’ of their bodies. People are moving away from ‘fitness’ and moving toward ‘well-being.’
History offers abundant evidence that supports this re-emerging knowledge. Ayurveda, an ancient Indian medicine system, aimed to heal the energy of the body while treating physical ailments. While the Chinese traditional methods visualize the body as a small universe with interconnected systems and energies.
Yoga and Tai Chi are some holistic practices that emerged from these ancient teachings and continue to be practiced well among people today. Holistic therapy involves practices such as meditation, yoga, massage, aromatherapy, sound therapy, breath-work, acupressure, reiki, and many more. Integrated holistic therapy involves a mix of these holistic practices.
In the Indian subcontinent, Ayurvedic practices emerge.
Hippocrates, the ‘father of medicine,’ encouraged self-healing of the body.
With the scientific revolution and the discovery of germs (as the root cause of diseases), holistic practices take to the back burner.
Holistic medicine reappears in the picture as people grow aware of the potential that lies within.
Listen to your body, sleep well, make your environment a reflection of who you are or want to be, and eat healthily and in moderation. These are some of the practices for maintaining a holistically healthy life.
With the rise in hustle culture, there is an obsession with working to earn the respect of yourself and others. But, this often leads to burnout. People often lose their sense of self and purpose when working hard for a long time. It is important to take a break and let yourself heal.
A holistic lifestyle focuses on the bigger picture rather than focusing on individual aspects. Eating healthy and exercising are not the only aspects of a holistic lifestyle, one should also serve the community, grow conscious of their spiritual self, and maintain healthy relationships.
And release it slowly. Holistic therapy can be as simple. Breath-work is frequently practiced for stress and anger management. Observing one’s breath is the center of most meditative practices.
Find out nearby holistic therapy practitioners and visit them. Maybe ask your doctor to refer you to one.
To see noticeable results, one must remain regular in their practices. It is only after some time that the results become obvious. Keep at it even when the outcomes are less evident.
Most ‘alternative medicines’ have been tagged as ‘quackery’ due to a lack of empirical evidence.
Eat healthily and in moderation, rest well, and move around — these are some common practices of the people living in the blue zone (areas with the highest life expectancy in the world).
Hippocrates believed that the true healing power lay within us.
All doctors can practice and teach holistic therapy but not all holistic practitioners are board-certified doctors.
Modern medicine works towards alleviating the symptoms of an ailment or disease but holistic medicine aims to improve the environment or emotion that led to that physical trouble.
Holistic medicine empowers us to heal ourselves. Just by observing ourselves we can understand and heal our bodies. A simple awareness of the self is a holistic therapy.
In modern medicine, the line blurs between the patient and their disease. People start embodying their disease. While in holistic therapy, it is believed that disease arises from an imbalance in the metaphysical being and can be brought back to equilibrium with the right practices.
Learning to understand your own body can be an emboldening and enlightening experience. Once we master the process enough we can heal ourselves without being dependent on the expensive medical system.
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