HISTORY OF HOLISTIC HEALTH
Written by: Akhilesh Dev | Posted: September 11, 2019 at 5:49 am | Total Comments: 1
Holistic health is a state of balance, not simply an absence of illness. Two of the most well documented ancient holistic health traditions are Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda. TCM originated almost 5,000 years ago and has continued to evolve into a complex system of diagnostic and treatment methods that are still practiced today. From the very beginning, TCM viewed the human body as a small universe of interconnected systems, including physical elements as well as subtle energies, such as “qi,” or life force, and “shen,” or spirit.
There are Three Ancient Medical Traditions in Holistic Health:
- Ayurveda– Ayurveda is the ancient medical tradition of India. Ayurveda traces its origins to a text written by Sushruta, the “father of Surgery,” in the 6th century B.C. The healing practice incorporates beliefs in the five great elements of the universe, the seven primary constituent elements of the body, and the three “doshas,” or biological energies, that each represent.
- Herbal medicine– Herbal medicine emphasizes holistic balance and is the oldest form of health care known to mankind. Indigenous people all over the world and throughout history have drawn on the medicinal properties of plants. Herbalism is a critical element of TCM and Ayurveda.
- Western herbalism– Western herbalism originated in ancient Greece and Rome, then spread throughout the rest of Europe and eventually to North and South America, focusing on the medicinal attributes of plants and herbs.
Holistic Health and Modern Medicine
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, who lived in the 4th century B.C., stressed the healing power of nature. He believed in encouraging the self-healing efforts of the body. Other early physicians were more interested in actively stepping in to correct illness. These two approaches—support versus intervention—were debated for centuries until the scientific revolution of the 19th century.
With the discovery of germs as a disease-causing agent, Western medicine became thoroughly focused on intervention. Diseases were treated as invaders to be destroyed with medicines such as penicillin. Physicians paid less attention to healthy lifestyle choices, environmental factors and emotional health. The emphasis was on symptoms and syndromes. Patients were discouraged from participating in their own health care and began to believe that medicine should simply “fix” them.
It took almost a century for the limitations of this approach to become clear. Some scientific medical cures proved more harmful than the diseases they sought to treat. Other diseases and chronic conditions failed to respond to scientific treatment.
Eventually people began to seek alternative forms of medicine. This led to a renewal of interest in holistic health education in the West. The first National Conference on Holistic Health was conducted in California in 1975. The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) and the Holistic Medical Association were formed soon after.
Holistic Health Today
We live in a time of great imbalance. There are more pollutants and chemicals in our food and environment than ever before. We face epidemic rates of obesity and chronic disease. Most people have poor diet and exercise habits. Almost everyone in our fast-paced society struggles to manage daily stress, and many are afflicted with chronic depression and anxiety.
Because of all this, consumers are concerned for their health. There has never been a greater need for the holistic health approach, and people are demanding medical alternatives and actively seeking better options for their personal wellness. This has resulted in constant research and development in the wellness industry.
Even so, very few medical doctors practice holistic health care, so professionals trained in holistic health schools are in high demand. These holistic health practitioners offer healing alternatives such as massage therapy, nutrition, chiropractic medicine, acupuncture, medication and homeopathic medicine. While no holistic health practitioner or wellness professional can be an expert in every form of health restoration, each offers a unique toolbox of skills and knowledge to help patients achieve whole body health and balance.
A Holistic Approach to Massage Therapies
Less than a 100 years ago the word stress did not exist. Today it is used in abundance and everywhere we look there are 5-step articles, wonder products and magic pills that promise to reduce our stress. The reality is that stress has been named as the “health epidemic of the 21st century”. Despite what many million dollar campaigns and the marketing companies behind them would like us to believe – there is no magic recipe to reduce the stress we experience in today’s demanding lifestyle. The only way to combat stress on a daily level is through a holistic approach where we care for our bodies and minds, even if it is in the smallest ways.
Holistic massage therapy doesn’t just feel good; it has physiological and neurological benefits. Among the many benefits of massage therapy are those related to the body’s production and regulation of neurohormones. These are the hormones produced by the nervous system that affect an individual’s behavior and general well-being. Massage increases the availability of all neurohormones affecting brain chemistry. It is an ancient method of healing that stimulates the blood circulation and clears the lymphatic drainage system which assists in releasing toxins from the body. By recognizing that illness and stress affects not only one’s physical but also emotional, spiritual and mental well-being, Holistic Massage allows the body’s natural healing abilities to come forth and balance the entire body as a whole.
The term “holistic” derives from the ancient Greek word “holos,” which means “whole.” By definition, Holistic Massage treats the whole body as a single entity, and is specifically tailored to each client. Holistic Massage is one of the choice treatments that clients need the most in today’s demanding life style.