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  • Writer's picturePanacea Lim

Understanding Holistic Health

For many, the word holistic brings to mind images of yoga mats, meditations and herbal remedies only. But in its truest sense, holistic means taking the whole system into account.


Holistic health is a multi-dimensional approach to aspects of wellness. It encourages individuals to recognise the person as a whole as a form of healing: body, mind, physical and spirit.

The individual is an active participant in their health decisions and healing processes, including wellness-oriented lifestyle choices.

This approach to health is derived from ancient healing traditions that help to achieve higher levels of wellness and prevent disease.


Western medicine and holistic medicine are often incorrectly depicted as opposing viewpoints. However, a combination of the two typically yields quicker and more thorough recovery. A broken leg, for instance, merits a visit to the doctor for an X-ray and cast. But eating nourishing food, use of essential oils, and practicing meditation may help manage pain, reduce stress, and speed the healing process. The same can be true of anxiety, depression, PTSD, or any mental health condition. Medication (prescribed thoughtfully and only as necessary), psychotherapy, and holistic treatments can complement and balance one another to help you achieve authentic wellness.


  1. Alternative Medical Systems are complete systems that developed outside of the Western biomedical approach. Examples are Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

  2. Mind-Body Interventions include behavioural, psychological, social, and spiritual approaches. Examples are cancer support groups and relaxation classes.

  3. Biologically-Based Therapies use plant or other biological materials. Examples include herbal medicines and aromatherapy.

  4. Manipulative and Body-Based Methods use manipulation, touch, or movement of the physical body. Examples include massage therapy and chiropractic.

  5. Energy Therapies involve some form of energy to heal, including electromagnetic, ultrasonic, thermal, or subtle energy. Examples include Reiki and Law of Attraction (Manifestation)


Mental health refers to ones psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think and act. It also helps determine how we relate to others and handle stress and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

Trauma can manifest as chronic illness, depression can deplete the spirit, and anxiety can push relationships to their breaking point. These mental health conditions affect every aspect of life, so truly effective trauma treatment must comprehensively address those same aspects. Too often, patients experience treatment as a series of symptoms rather than a whole individual. This can lead to misdiagnoses, unsustainable results, and a great deal of frustration. Treatment centers that take a holistic approach recognize mental health conditions as biological, physiological, and spiritual conditions. Unfortunately, those who lack this approach view them as a brain-based disease. This comprehensive treatment approach supports lasting wellness and promotes self-care.

Benefits Of Holistic Treatment For Mental Health

There are numerous benefits of holistic treatment for mental health. A few of these benefits include:

  • Promotes relaxation

  • Helps develop coping skills

  • Encourages a healthy diet and proper exercise

  • Can be easily implemented

  • Is often more cost-effective than medication


Emotional health is an important part of overall health. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their feelings. They’re able to cope with life’s challenges. They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships.

Being emotionally healthy doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. It means you’re aware of your emotions. You can deal with them, whether they’re positive or negative. Emotionally healthy people still feel stress, anger, and sadness. But they know how to manage their negative feelings. They can tell when a problem is more than they can handle on their own. They also know when to seek help from their doctor. Research shows that emotional health is a skill. There are steps you can take to improve your emotional health and be happier.


The Body is often described as a vessel. Taking care of it is essential to maintain stability, flexibility, and prevention of diseases.

Our physical health is what most people think about when they think of health. This is mostly because it is the physical body that often shows us physical signs and symptoms of either optimal or sub-optimal health.

We most often think of physical health in terms of weight or appearance, disease, or pain. But it is so much more than that. Our physical health refers to how we care for our bodies on a daily basis through our choices and habits, which ultimately leads to long-term health.

There is also an external factor that contributes to our individual wellbeing: the health of our physical environment. The spaces we live in, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the soil we grow our gardens in–they all contribute to our physical health.

Some of the things to look our for to start with:

  1. Understand ingredients of products

  2. Watch your diet

  3. Remove toxicity

  4. Listen to your body

  5. Sleep well


Spiritual wellness involves finding your life’s meaning and purpose and understanding the beliefs, values, and morals that guide your actions.

It acknowledges our search for deeper meaning in life. When we're spiritually healthy, we feel more connected to not only a higher power, but to those around us. We have more clarity when it comes to making everyday choices, and our actions become more consistent with our beliefs and values.

7 ways to improve your spiritual health:

  1. Explore your spiritual core

  2. Look for deeper meanings

  3. Releasing emotions

  4. Gratitude

  5. Think positively

  6. Gratitude

  7. Meditate


A holistic approach to wellbeing integrates all aspects of your health. Since our mind and body are connected, it becomes crucial to take into consideration all the components. Start with an area that is comfortable for you.


Motivation is not the key component to take care of your well-being. What is important is the “why”? When you know the reasons for taking care of your overall well-being, it becomes easier to stick to it. Remember, consistency matters more than the drive.

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