Evon McDonald, FCCI, Young Living Diamond (with Lorna Miller)
What is holistic health? Is it a pile of myths and mysticism that bears no value in modern day health care? Or is there perhaps some merit to the idea that the body can be supported as a whole organism and encouraged to heal?
The topic of holistic health is commonly met with a variety of negative connotations by those who do not understand the beliefs, intentions, or modalities of such a lifestyle. It can be a divisive subject, particularly in the Christian church, due to some preconceived ideas that certain ideologies around healing are “new age” or heretical. It can be especially uncomfortable to bring up in a doctor’s office or any situation in which the disagreeing party has chosen not to attempt to understand the belief system or how or why a particular modality or theory (such as essential oils) might work.
Far and wide, the mention or suggestion of holistic healing methods are met with skepticism in America and developed countries. These practices are thought of as only being a viable option in the mind of a person from a developing country, who perhaps does not have access to “modern” medicine. Some consider it to be neglect that a mom would decline to take her sick child to a medical doctor in favor of riding out the bug in her own boat, armed with an artillery of homeopathy or essential oils or other remedies. She is confident and skilled in her craft in caring for common complaints, and yet there are those who would belittle her self-assurance that she can face the giant with her plants and herbs. She is also wise, and knows when it is time to call on a physician’s expertise when she needs help. And it’s not that she doesn’t value her doctor’s opinion, but merely that she has studied and educated herself on the workings of the body, and chosen a full spectrum and more natural approach to addressing the root of the issue rather than being symptom focused.
Followers of a holistic mindset are sometimes considered to be uneducated, when in fact it does take quite a bit of personal development and education to understand, formulate, and implement a totally holistic lifestyle. Credentialed experts tend to be labeled as “quacks” when their teachings seem to contradict, or do not line up or agree with Western medicine.
Holistic modalities are often thought of as inferior to Western medicine, because people do not trust nature to be able to supply anything as powerful as a man-made substance formulated in a lab. These ideas are often considered to be “alternative” (read: sketchy; out there), when in fact, most of the modalities encompassed under the umbrella of holistic are actually the “original” way of addressing health concerns.
Many will only consider holistic or “homeopathic” remedies as a sideline defense for minor complaints, when in fact many things can be addressed successfully with a combination of modalities Others will only consider using something like essential oils as a last resort, when nothing else has produced the desired effects and they are willing to try anything. At that point, there is just enough hope present to give the body a chance to rally, and those skeptics are, more often than not, pleasantly surprised by the results.
Some equate “holistic medicine” or some of the practices therein with witchcraft or other occult rituals. But when you think about it, it is our Creator God who designed our bodies to work so intricately together, and who gave Man the wisdom and knowledge to study and learn the complexities of the human body. Focus on frequencies and chakras need not be feared or called “New Age,” because God Himself has built those exquisite functions into our human form, like a hard-wired electrical system that keeps our body systems working together toward optimal health. God created the body whole – not in pieces! Systems are wired and connected so intricately that it blows our MINDS when we begin to discover how intrinsically intelligent it is.
Holistic (eastern medicine) and Western medicine are often thought of as being mutually exclusive and hostile. And while it is true that many holistic believers take an all-or-nothing approach to their lifestyles (which truly may seem unusual from the outside), it is entirely possible and sometimes necessary for elements of the two schools of thought to be integrated to achieve a full recovery from a serious injury or illness in many cases.
Let’s put these misconceptions to rest and talk about what holistic health ACTUALLY means.
relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems, rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts.”– Merriam Webster dictionary
A holistic approach to health and wellness operates on the innate belief that the body and its systems are intricately connected, and that consideration of the whole is due in order to be successful in permanently correcting or reversing a health concern. With this mindset, we focus on supporting the whole body according to biblical instructions including physical, emotional, and spiritual beliefs, and giving equal support to each, as well as giving attention to emotional health and wellbeing as a factor in physical wellness. Holistic means WHOLE. It means looking at the big picture to see how we can act in the best interest of the entire body.
Holistic health is the practice of creating a balanced approach to treatment so that no one system or area suffers for the cause of correcting another. We tend to shy away from single-symptom or even single-system management, on the understanding that a symptom is only a signal of a root cause, and that focusing treatment on only one area may be to the detriment of the rest of the body. Instead, holistic-minded folks employ the use of numerous modalities and natural remedies that work in synergy with the body to address and/or restore normal, healthy function. Such modalities include, but are not limited to, essential oils, herbs, homeopathy, vitamins, minerals, whole-food based dietary supplements, chiropractic care and other body work, accupuncture, massage, reflexology, movement, kinesiology and energy work, yoga, meditation etc. The tendency is to avoid synthetic and other man-made drugs as much as possible. By integrating various methods to encourage healing, and avoiding introducing chemical compounds as a “quick fix,” we increase our likelihood of a long-term solution to health.
Holistic health employs the belief that the body can be supported to enable itself to heal, and the knowledge that a solid nutritional foundation is an integral component of health and the body’s ability to function as it was designed. We recognize that in order to function well, we must also remove toxins from our environment and life as much as possible. We understand that toxic emotions must be dealt with as well, because we can only live well physically when we are also emotionally and spiritually healthy.
Most importantly, a person who adopts a holistic health philosophy understands that taking responsibility and an active participant role in one’s own education and implementation of a health regimen is absolutely vital. This person recognizes that one’s education is never complete and is ever open to learning and assimilating new information into her core of knowledge and applies it to her approach to care.
Therapeutic grade essential oils are an easy bridge into holistic living and oilers are encouraged to understand more about themselves in the process of learning to use their oils effectively.
Holistic approaches are worth consideration from everyone, even the most skeptical parties, as part of a lifestyle of wellness. It is not quackery to think outside the box, nor is it a fool’s errand to explore natural modalities for healing. We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God, and therefore it is reasonable to believe that the same God who created humans also created plants and natural compounds and processes to encourage healing. The study and employment of such methods simply highlight one’s trust in God, who designed the body with such innate wisdom and ability to heal when we apply His gift of nature along with our faith, to allow the body to heal.