A disease is not merely the symptom – the symptom is not the disease
The oldest texts are from the Far-East. According to the Ayurvedic (= the science of life) medicine of India and Traditional Chinese Medicine, the foundation of health is balance, which is created by the harmony between matter, energy and spirit.
For Ancient Greek natural philosophers, health was harmony, while disease was a manifestation of disharmony. The restoration of health meant the restoration of balance within the system (Hippocrates, Galenus).
According to the Salerno School of Medicine (the first such school in Europe), the foundations of a healthy life are air, food and drink, sport and rest, sleep and awareness (being awake), humours and excrement, as well as mood and emotional state.
According to Paracelsus, the health of a human is determined by the “inner doctor” – that is nature and life itself within the body, and the “medicine healing from within” – that is inner substance.
The holistic approach considers wellness, wholeness and health as most valuable, continuously striving for balanced existence. It takes into account all aspects of an individual’s life: physical, mental, general and emotional well being, as well as spirituality and faith. The holistic approach means a search for tools that help realise our desires and find our personal power and strength. If someone wishes to find health and wholeness, she will quickly realise how important it is to take care of our connections and relationships, as well as our environment and planet. It is just as important to tolerate and accept the differences between humans, and to be able to practice mercy and compassion towards them.
A holistic healer has to understand that our discomfort and pain arise from, and are indicators of, imbalance. This imbalance can be a physical problem, such as an unhealthy lifestyle and lack of respect for the body. The imbalance, however, can also mean that our mental, emotional and/or spiritual needs are not being met. A holistic healer must take into account all these aspects together when establishing a diagnosis. It is with this complex information that the healer sets out to find the best possible cure.
According to holistic science, every body part and organ has an important function which is connected to a mental and emotional aspect that comes into the forefront when there is any kind of sickness.
The body also has a “built-in” pain-relief system. This is partially due to endorphins and enkephalins (morphine-like pain-killer hormones) released by the brain, and partially to certain instinctual emotional changes.
The success of holistic methods lies in being able to activate the bodies natural pain relief hormones and to shift conscious focus away from the pain.
Equipped with a precise diagnosis, the healer is able to work with the given person on physical, mental and emotional levels. On the emotional level, it is through decisions and forgiveness that the patient can make progress. The mental level requires understanding and meaning given to the situation. A given disease or injury can have a positive outcome for the patient if she learns from it and avoids making the same mistake again. With correct knowledge and realisation, the patient can feel relieved and happy.
The principles of holistic healing
1) Healing the whole person
Holistic healing views a person as a whole with three parts, that of mind, body and soul (trichotomy). If disease arises, the system considers the entire human as malfunctioning, meaning that healing must take place on all levels. All inflictions have mental, emotional and physical roots. If healing only occurs on one level, the results of healing will be partial as well.
2) The understanding of the laws of nature and their application
Modern, industrial life has distanced humans from nature. Certain diseases appear more frequently and from a younger age. Humans of today are generally oblivious to the laws of nature, and so break them at every turn, causing disease. The understanding and the application of these laws is the backbone of holistic healing.
3) Importance of prevention
Preventing disease is much easier that and preferable to the restoration of a sick, degenerated organism. The primary goal therefore is not healing, but the protection of health through a proper, natural lifestyle.
4) Gentle diagnosis
Holistic therapy uses the external signals given by the body to discern the state of internal organs. This diagnostic method is non-invasive, simple, cheap, painless and has no side-effects. For a trained healer, a person’s face, hair, nails, eyes, ears, posture and movement all carry important information. Visual diagnostics are of course complemented by kinaesthetic as well as oral query.
5) Natural therapies
The majority of the therapeutic methods is directly connected to nature (e.g. nutrients, herbs, air and light, mud therapy, hydrotherapy). The therapies are chosen to be in harmony with the nature of man.
6) Within the body, everything is connected
Holistic healing avoids specialisation in the sense that is views the body as a complex system where everything is connected. No matter where the healing intervention is to be made, the effect will be evident in all organs and organ systems.
7) Activation of self-healing energies
Every human body is equipped with a strong self-healing mechanism. In case of disease, this system can be blocked or severely hindered. The goal is to help the activation and work of this system through simple, gentle, natural methods.
The most common holistic therapies and methods
- Proper, natural diet
- Detoxification, cleansing, fasting
- Vitamin and mineral intake
- Herbal therapy
- Healing with the elements (pure water, sunlight, fresh air, etc.)
- Exercise in fresh air
- Regular exercise (swimming, running, hiking, etc.)
- Naturally fortifying the immune system
- Natural pain-relief
- Correcting the spine (chiropractic)
- Energy-based healing therapies
- Chinese medicine
- Alternative massage and movement therapies
- Ayurvedic healing