Holistic Health?

I remember my grandmother using homeopathy remedies and natural remedies to help us when we were sick. But as an adult, my personal journey in holistic medicine began when my first son was born. That child was born extremely sensitive to my breast milk and we quickly had to change our diet to keep him rash and belly pain free. As he grew, I noticed how much sugar affected his behavior and mood as well as lactose. My journey went deeper in that area with the birth of my second son who had more sensitivities than my first, or at least they were more obvious. Visits to our pediatrician made everything worst, not better. He was not sick, therefore medicine was not needed, but he also was not well.  He was swollen all the time, feeling foggy, belly aches continuously. This made his life and ours miserable. It was clear something was wrong, and I had to do something. So I went to a naturopath who started by explaining the circle of health to me. A first in a series of moments which have changed our lives.

Holistic health is a concept in medical practice upholding that all aspects of people’s needs, psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole and operate as one interpenetrating and co-operative system. What affects one area affects the others, and being aware of how this happens will help a great deal in achieving a wholesome balance.

Contemporary Holistic practices tend to promote prevention instead of intervention. Holistic health is based on the idea that disease invades a body that is not healthy.

The model below was developed by Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin in his book Predictive Medicine.

Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin health model, Predictive Medicine

For a body to be healthy there must be good genetics, good structural balance, good nutrition, biorhythmic integrity and good emotional health. When these base components are not present, it sets the stage for disease. It is believed that disease begins when the body is unhealthy. It begins with poor diet, emotional issues, chemical or metal toxicity, and/or structural issues such as nerve damage, poor body function or stress, assaulting the body.

Since the 17th century, the separation between the mind and body allowed for medical science to control,  explore and experiment on the physical body while the church had for domaine dominance over the mind.  According to The Alternative Medicine Foundation : ” While this separation has permitted great advances in the understanding of the nature and treatment of diseases, it has also limited its progression as it has produced a reliance of Western medicine on technology and what has come to be known as “body-mind dualism.”“(http://www.amfoundation.org/mindbodymed.htm)

“In the last 30 years, scientists have developed a new discipline, called psychoneuroimmunology, which interlinks psychological, autonomic, immune, and nervous system functioning.  Current mind/body medicine extends beyond psychoneuroimmunology to include the fields of psychology and physics in a new “science of consciousness,” which views energy as the underlying pattern of the universe.  This is similar to many Asian philosophies, such as Ayurveda and Tibetan medicine that see human beings as part of an interconnected, universal energy field. ““(http://www.amfoundation.org/mindbodymed.htm)

In this approach, healing tends to begin by promoting physical and mental relaxation, and developing better ways of coping with stress.

A 21st century Spiral of holistic Communication

This model addresses the basic needs of an individual but the 21st century world requires that we consider a few other elements in order for a Highly Sensitive Person or a Highly Sensitive Child to remain or become healthy.

The 21st century is marking a giant change in how science understand the world. I came across this wonderful Royal Society of Art lecture by Dan Siegel which incorporates a wonderful definition  of us, our brain and health. He defines our mind as a self-organizing complex process that in embodied and social. Our brain’s purpose is to stabilize attention.

As he points out, any process that promotes integration promotes health. Integration is not limited to food and medicine, today  our health is now dependent on other elements, some that used to be recognized in older traditions and others that are unique to our modern times but all affect us greatly: 1) our senses, 2) genes, 3) time, 4) space, 5) elements, 6) People and animate life,  and 7)technology.

I will explore this idea in this blog.

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