The holistic approach to mental health supports a full body approach, utilizing multiple fields of medicine and nutritional sciences. Types of therapies and treatments can include- massage, meditation, aromatherapy, herbal remedies, raw/whole food diet, exercise, or acupuncture. I mentioned a little bit about holistic health in one of my previous blog posts- Holistic Healing. Each person should be treated as a person, not as their disorder or disease. The type of holistic medicine I am focusing on is ‘complementary medicine.’ This meaning conventional medicine and other non-pharmaceutical means to complement it. Some people have found that they don’t need any prescription drugs at all while utilizing an entirely non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical holistic approach. Keep in mind, everyone is different, some of us with very serious illnesses need prescriptions as our primary healing.
Holistic medicine is often a whole lifestyle change, not a quick fix. This being said, holistic therapies are especially helpful to people with the ability and desire to be proactive in their healing. The holistic model supports the idea that body chemistry, spirituality, diet, nutrition, and other factors can impact the brain in diverse ways. Imbalances in the body are often associated with psychological symptoms. For example- a poor diet is a contributor to conditions such as irritability, depression, anxiety and ADHD. Years of consuming the wrong food can create hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, allergies and more. All of these imbalances can impair healthy brain function. Without the adequate amounts of nutrients our brain requires, our emotions, perception and behaviour can be affected. One may develop symptoms ranging from learning problems all the way to schizophrenia. We are what we eat!
Exercise is just as crucial in improving overall well being. I touched on this in another on of my previous blog posts- The Results Are In. Spiritual health tends to be the most difficult for people. However, meditation is known to actually change the way your brain works, making our brain more susceptible to positive emotions (Note to self: this is what I should be focusing on). Mind-body exercises such as yoga and tai chi have the potential to improve fitness and emotional balance at the same time.