The concept of health, wellness, and modern medicine has largely revolved around our physical body. We invest our time, energy and funding into better understanding the individual systems of the body such as the circulatory system, or the human brain, seeking a comprehensive understanding of how they work, the way in which they interact with one another and what steps we can take to prevent and treat any ailments or illnesses.
Recently, however, many experts in the medical profession have begun to open their eyes to a bigger understanding of the ‘whole,’ seriously considering the impact that other areas of our lives, such as our emotional or spiritual health, can have on our overall health.
The concept is built on the belief of the Four Spectrums of Health, including spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health. These spectrums aren’t individual and isolated concepts, but rather deeply connected with one another creating a complicated web known as our overall health. When one of these areas begins to falter or fall out of balance, the rest are, in turn, impacted. A clear example is the impact of depression on the human body. While it is largely associated with negative or extreme feelings of sadness, there are also physical symptoms reported by suffers including aches and pains, changes in appetite and chronic fatigue. While depression is considered a ‘mental illness,’ it is felt in our physical health as well.
Holistic healing works to focus on this balance, working to bring all spectrums of health back into alignment. Doing so will allow every organ, process, and system in our bodies to function at their optimal ‘state of functioning,’ which is the point we define as being ‘healthy.’ This point in our lives is one of harmony, in which everything ‘works’ as intended. The process of rebalancing your whole being in this way is known as ‘healing.’
While very few people subscribe solely to alternative medicine practices, still visiting their doctor to discuss their medical concerns, it is estimated that approximately one-third of Americans will seek help in some form outside of their doctor’s office as part of their overall healing efforts. This reflects an important shift in our society today, one in which the population, including the medical community, are opening our eyes to the benefits of incorporating holistic healing with our current medical practices.
As we begin to embrace these healing practices, including but not limited to meditation, herbology, aromatherapy and chakra balancing, we are encouraging scientists and researchers to put more of their time and efforts into better understanding the effectiveness of these treatments. For example, melatonin has become a widely accepted natural treatment for those that are suffering from issues with their sleep cycle. As word spreads about its effectiveness, the number of adults using melatonin doubled between 2007 and 2012. Today it is recognized as a great way of addressing complications associated with jet lag, and offering relief for children, adults and the elderly who struggle with falling asleep. While there are some studies confirming this effectiveness, researchers continue to explore the beneficial use of melatonin for the average American.
As we continue to embrace alternative treatment practices, we will likely see an increase in cooperation between our family doctors and medical practitioners and those who practice alternative treatments. This isn’t to say that there is no place in the future for modern medicine, but that our best overall health will be accomplished through considering all areas of our lives. It’s only a matter of time before we see our family doctors prescribing chakra balancing during a routine physical exam!
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