Picture a skyscraper office building, bustling with people scheduling and attending meetings, making pitches, going back to the drawing board, scrolling through email, making copies and coffee. Everyone has a unique job, but they are all interconnected in regards to one thing — the company’s mission statement. No matter if they’re addressing individual thank-you notes to donors or drafting an email requesting a raise, each member plays a vital role in achieving the goals of their workplace.
Now consider if a group of people leave for a time on a business trip or sick leave. They aren’t present to complete the routine tasks everyone expects them to do, so things are overlooked, missed and delayed. The department suffers until they return or someone else attempts to pick up the slack. Regardless, the flow of work is compromised and the department – and by extension, the company – suffers.
Think of this as a metaphor for the body – when one part goes down, everything else struggles alongside it. When you’re exhausted, your physical body and your mental state suffer. When you pull a muscle, all the other muscles hurt from overcompensation. So what seems damaging to just one area actually has an overarching effect on the entire body.
This is what holistic healing takes into consideration. Since our bodies are composed of many parts all working together for the good of the whole, it is important to heal the whole and not just the physical symptoms of the part.
What is holistic healing?
The concept of holism, from which holistic healing takes root, considers the whole to be much more than just the sum of its parts. Whereas much of Western medicine focuses on identifying and treating mainly just the physical symptoms, holistic healing focuses on treating the entire body, both physical and mental. It forms a basis on which complete and total recovery can begin, which is important for those with co-occurring mental disorders or dual diagnosis.
The 5 parts of holistic healing
Holistic healing focuses on the physical, emotional, social, spiritual and mental functions of the body and takes into account the effect all these factors have on overall health.
- Physical – Physically healing the body can entail medicine – and certainly does in particular cases – but it also stresses the importance of creating habits to promote physical health. This includes getting plenty of sleep (8 hours minimum); eating a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins; exercising/moving your body for at least 30 minutes a day; and avoiding unhealthy habits like excessive drinking, smoking and consuming high amounts of processed, sugary foods.
- Social – Loneliness and isolation are key factors in the onset of mental health conditions, so surrounding oneself with a community offers much in the realm of health and well-being. If not for the small comfort of making you feel “less crazy,” conversations with others can offer new outlooks, hope for the future and the comfort of being seen and known.
- Spiritual – While it entails religion, spirituality includes any practice which gives life a deeper meaning. Practicing spirituality through prayer and meditation offers a sense of peace, a self-confidence given through the belief that all will work out for your good.
- Mental – Concerning the functioning of the brain, mental health is important to consider as it has an overreaching effect on our emotional and physical state. By taking care of your physical health, you can significantly increase your mental health as well.
- Emotional – Emotional health differs from mental health in that it concerns our feelings and can directly impact our physical health if not looked after. While doctors look after our physical health, counselors and psychologists work to look after our emotional (and mental) health and provide productive coping mechanisms to handle the stresses of life.
Benefits of holistic healing
Holistic practices such as yoga, mindfulness, aromatherapy, chiropractic and meditation strive toward the unification of these 5 elements of the human being.
For example, if someone is struggling with alcohol addiction, while it is important to heal the physical body from alcohol’s effects, damaging mental issues can also arise during substance use. Mental effects such as depression and anxiety commonly co-occur with alcohol abuse, so for a complete recovery, both the body and the mind need to be looked after. This is why detox occurs before the rest of recovery – the body needs to be in a physically stable state in order to begin work on the mind and spirit.
In addition, holistic practices promote internal peace and tranquility, stress reduction in both the mind and body (release of muscle tension), improved sleep and increased energy, emotional balance and improved self-confidence. The best part? Most of holistic healing’s practices are completely natural and noninvasive.
Holistic for you
Holistic healing is not a new concept; it’s been around for thousands of years, as far back as Ancient Greeks. Western medicine, however, has recently been adopting its practices as doctors and mental health specialists have realized that while the physical conditions might be gone, the mental health side might still require attending to, whether or not those symptoms are visible. This is what our specialists at Silver Ridge Recovery strive towards – a complete, holistic healing to ensure an entire and lasting recovery. Call (855) 945-7788 today, or reach out to get help for any self-destructive substance use habits.