Holistic integrative medicine by definition seeks to balance the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual elements of well-being so that we feel whole in every sense. When a healing system recognises all of these elements, it may be considered truly “holistic.” A system treating only one element, such as the physical, ignores those elements of a person necessary to create true healing.
It may be that only one element is primarily presenting as disease, be it mental or emotional in psychological diseases, or physical for minor ailments or injuries, however, if any single element remains out of balance, then eventually all elements of a persons well-being will become affected. For example, taking pills to relieve migraine headaches, may do just that, but the symptom will recur if the root cause, such as an old pattern of anger or resentment that needs to be resolved in order to effect a true cure, is not taken into consideration. The reverse may also be true – chronic physical pain may cause a person to become emotionally imbalanced, and intolerant.
In attempting to create balanced health through acupuncture, massage therapy, diet, exercise, mental and emotional attitudes, it is important to remember the ultimate goal of balance itself – Freedom. What’s more, if we consider the purpose of spirit to fulfil it’s destiny during life in the physical body, even if blindly like a salmon to the source, we can recognise that imbalances in the physical body can create dullness, despondency, negativity and lack of receptivity to change – all of which hinder the work of our spiritual journey. Restoring the body’s health using appropriate diet, exercise, herbs and therapies that best suit our unique condition, allow the spirit to assert itself and guide us on our path.
The microcosm in the macrocosm
Each element of our selves offers a complete reflection of the whole and visa versa. For example, reflexology recognises a corresponding point for each organ and part of the body on the soles of the feet or palms of the hand. In acupuncture, this is found in the face and tongue, pulse, in the ears, and in the eyes. When part of our system is rebalanced and improved, the whole body / system feels better. As therapists and healers, the idea is to find the most suitable place to begin in order to get a grasp of the whole – the microcosm supports the macrocosm.
When we attune to our inner self through stillness, we naturally make the right decisions for ourselves and our innate sensibilities are restored to a natural state of being. When we are in this state, rules about how we got there become insignificant. We simply learn how to be, and are guided and motivated from within. Rigid diets and complicated mental and spiritual disciplines become superfluous. Most people do not function from this clear connection within the self. The increased mobility and technology of civilisation have estranged us from our natural, centred, in-tune state of being.
In terms of diet, we have no cultural tradition to guide our everyday food choices. Our tastes have become tainted by denatured and synthetic foods.
Balanced eating once was, and still is in indigenous cultures, a matter of course. But for most of us, this has become lost in diets overloaded with sugars, refined flours, salt, additives, preservatives and other harmful chemicals and substances that cause us to crave more, resulting in a culture of addiction.
So how do we find balance? We tune in, create time to slow down and listen to our inner guidance, and of course, we may avail ourselves of the holistic practitioners who may guide and support us along the way. Energetic medicine such as acupuncture, bodywork and herbs can afford us invaluable attunement and bio feedback towards healing ourselves.