I must confess that up until just a couple of years ago, I had no clue what the term “holistic health care” actually meant. The phrase would conjure up images of smiley faced hippies or needle-wielding Asian therapists. I grew up in a family who believed that you went to the doctor only when you were too sick to have Pepto-Bismol or Tylenol fix you, and that a healthy diet did; in fact, include coffee, soda, fast food, and ice cream.
Then I left the cooler climate of northeastern USA for the sand and sun of Florida’s east coast. Up north, many folks have to suffer the insult of being seen in a bathing suit only a few times a year; but here in the land of heat and humidity the fewer clothes you wear, the happier your internal temp will be. Soon I became overly conscious of my Pennsylvania pudge and decided that I would need to get serious about getting slim and fit.
This new desire for a sleeker me led me along a sometimes winding road to discover the incredible health and wellness benefits of holistic health care. It began when, for one reason or another, the community of friends and neighbors I created for myself all seemed to be dedicated to healthy living—throwing around holistic tenets with wild abandon. As much a pack animal as anyone else, I quickly realized that in order to keep up with this new group of holistic hooligans, I’d better start researching and putting into practice some of their principles and habits.
My first stop on the holistic health-care road trip was the most visited and well-known destination for the general population. I wanted to—needed to—lose my combination of cold weather and baby weight, and so I turned to my super skinny and healthy mom friends and asked what their secret was to staying so slim and, well, young looking. Many of them adopted vegan or raw diets, a concept that my carnivorous genes found difficult to fathom. Others had a less strict whole-and-organic-foods approach to eating, a much more palatable option for me at the time.
Through my research to figure out what “whole and organic” actually translated into eatingwise, I came to learn about and understand that much of the value in holistic health care is the preventative care it champions. Go to any holistic Web site, read any book or magazine with a holistic focus and you will soon know that the holistic community considers itself to be in the business of preventing you from getting sick—meaning “let’s get and keep you healthy” as opposed to Western medicine, which has more of a “repair” philosophy.
In an age of rising health-care costs, and even lack of health care for many, a proactive effort to getting healthy and keeping healthy by making lifestyle and dietary changes can mean the difference of hundreds, if not thousands of dollars spent each year on doctor and hospital visits. And because of the possible implications of the contamination of our food resources by an agricultural industry motivated to try to produce more and bigger food sources through scientifically altering produce, fertilizers, and animal feed, there are even negative long-term health implications. By choosing to buy and eat as much organic local food as possible, you may be seriously cutting down the risks of you and your family members developing certain cancers or other health issues as a result of ingesting the food that comes from the scientifically engineered farms.
I don’t proclaim to be an expert on holistic health care, and I certainly am not even the best disciple of the industry as I frequently fall from holistic graces into old, bad habits. But I will say that the lessons I have learned while researching this increasingly popular health care perspective have made drastic overall lifestyle improvements for my family and me. If you are struggling to find answers to your health concerns and mainstream medicine has not proven helpful, consider visiting a holistic health-care practitioner for a follow-up opinion. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.