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What does a taking a Holistic / Integrated approach mean?

According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary ‘Holistic’ means: “the treating of the whole person including the mental and social factors rather than just the symptoms”. But what does that mean in practice? If, for example someone has just broken their arm, then taking a holistic / integrated approach could be meaningless, as their arm may just need to be straightened and put into plaster. But, if someone has a more serious illness, then the holistic / Integrated approach can be much more meaningful and beneficial. Having Healers, Doctors, Therapists and other Healthcare Workers all working together and integrating their knowledge and skills would give patients more options in respect of their health.

The Holistic Treatment Plan approach

When holistic doctors, healers and therapists give their patients a summary of the patients recommended treatments they often create what is known as a ‘treatment plan’. The following example of a treatment plan is for a patient who has chosen a holistic approach to their illness. The following is an example of an Treatment Plan.
 
Holistic Treatment Plan
Subject
Subject types
Actions taken
Alternative therapies Castor Oil Packs Wears a Castor oil pack each night around his waist – castor oil can help to clear toxins and prevents them from being absorbed.
Counselling Group work, Psychotherapy, Setting Priorities. Problems seem to have come from a fall from a roof that caused the the illness which could have come from the original problem, so he felt that he doesn’t need any counselling.
Creativity Mind simulation. Reads books and now collected old vinyl records
Diet Vegetarian alkaline diet, Vitamins, Minerals Changed to a vegetarian alkaline diet, with multi vitamins and minerals supplements.
Energy Medicines Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Shiatsu. He has not felt the need to use this part of his plan, as he feels that the healing he receives is his energy medicine.
Healing Regular hands on healing Has ‘hands on healing’ twice each week.
Medication Various doctor prescribed medications. Not on any conventional medication – chemotherapy offered to him, but he turned this treatment down.
Regular Exercise Blood and lymph simulates. Plays golf 2 to 3 times each week, which help to oxidise the blood and keeps his lymph glands active.
Self Help Meditation, Relaxation, Visualisation. Meditates each day to relax and visualises his good liver cells eating the bad liver cells.
Support Group Share knowledge and experiences with others Does not feel that he needs a Support Group – has a close family network, and a lot of TLC.
 
(Note: Although in the example plan above the patient declined conventional medication, in holistic treatment plans all types of treatments need consideration, whether conventional or complementary).

This type of plan can encourage patients to look seriously at their whole way of life to see if they can make changes that will help their illness. When a serious illness is diagnosed it is important to remember that the patient is going through a change cycle. This is often causes panic, disbelief, depression, acceptance, trying out new methods and behaviours. We are all different, and from different backgrounds and life situations, so there is not a single formula that suits everyone. It is a question of finding the correct combination of activities and treatments that suit each patient and their illness, and then incorporating these changes into their new way of life.

Why make changes to our lives?
Many patients find it hard at first to accept a holistic approach to their illness and often say “How do I make changes at this time of my life?” or “Are you saying that I have caused my own illness?” What I explain to them that it is not a question of becoming a different person but looking at life slightly differently.

A phased approach
One danger to avoid, is trying too many treatments at the same time, leading to confusion of what is or isn’t helping and can sometimes the draining of the patient energy reserves - travelling to get to/from treatments, time taken to carry out treatments etc. The best approach is to phase in each new aspect of the treatment plan one at a time and see if that aspect works. For example, suddenly changing our diet can lead to withdrawal symptoms and it is better to change a diet gradually over a reasonable period of time.
Helping ourselves
When taking on a new patient I ask them to work with me and not just sit back and leave it all to me. This I find makes them think about how they can help themselves and gives a good foundation for a holistic approach. When the illness has been diagnosed as ‘terminal’ the patient is often in a state of shock and struggling to come to terms with the situation. This can lead to the loss of weight, being unable to sleep and a very poor quality of life. It may take a few weeks or sometimes months, but the quicker they realise that they are compounding their problems by the state of mind the better. Once they realise that having as normal and balanced life as possible, can dramatically improve their quality of life, and they start to become more relaxed and be in a better state of mind to cope with their illness.

Taking control
It is very important for patients to take control of their illness, and not just leave the control to others. Whatever direction they choose to take, it needs to tie in with their lifestyle. They need to be encouraged to take into account with their ‘gut instinct’, as our physical bodies and inner-self is often much more aware of what we need to do, than they may realise.

Being kind to ourselves
If we use the analogy: if we had a plant, which was not given the right food or liquid and if it was kept in the searing sunlight, and not nurtured in any way, what would you do? We are no different to that plant, and often not kind to our bodies, push ourselves through difficult work barriers, put ourselves in stressful situations and relationships, have very little rest and relaxation, and may not be following what we really want to do in life. We should be kind to ourselves and look after ourselves as we would look after a plant.

Stress
Many stresses can be good for us and challenge us in a healthy way, but many are harmful and deplete the body’s immune system. It is important to determine the harmful stresses, and then remove them from our lives.

Build joy, laughter and happiness into your life
Having a serious illness can often be a wake-up call, and it is time to reassess life and think about how to can get the best out of it. Build joy into every day. This may be reading a book, taking a bath, walking, etc. Or it may be going to the theatre, fishing, or visiting friends or family. It is about finding whatever brings you joy. You may then find that many of my ‘healthy’ friends are having a worse time than you are with their lives just one long drag. Laughter is also good for the soul, and we should all find every opportunity to experience it. 

Putting ourselves first
One common factor with many ill people is that they often put others first and neglect themselves. When we are ill it is important to put our self first, and make time for ourselves, even if it is just for one hour each day. Often ill people have lost their self-esteem and if that is the case, they should love and respect themselves for whom they are.

Positive thinking
Our brain emits biochemistry that circulates throughout our body. When we are stressed it can produce biochemical’s can be harmful to our bodies, so thinking positively can help to reverse this reaction. Statistically, we have a far better chance of overcoming an illness if we think positively. When we are ill this can be very difficult. If we take each day at a time and try and enjoy each day, we can slowly help to come to terms for our illness, think more positively and improve our quality of life.

Food & food preparation
What food we eat and how we prepare it also very important – some food processing and types of cooking removes the natural energy and nourishment from our foods. It is far better to eat organic food, and where possible eat it raw, streamed or juiced, as these methods best retain the foods energy and nourishment. Often having a dairy free diet can be very beneficial as many cows are now fed on growth hormones and antibiotics, which can produce harmful toxins – soya based products are a very good substitute. Also, the avoidance of chocolate, caffeine and alcohol is important – alcohol overworks the liver and increases toxins, and can produces dangerous free radical cells and deplete our immune system.

Toxin detox
When our organs are overworked they produce more toxins and this can have a serious affect on our health. Our organs need regular detox of their toxins – ideally on a monthly basis. Fruit juices such as cranberry can detox the kidneys and bladder, while apple juice is a good detox for the liver. To detox using juices, eat a good food diet and slowly build up the juices over 3 days so that on the 3rd day you just have the juice as your liquid intake – may give ‘the runs’ for a short time, but we should feel much time after the detox. There are various other ways of having a detox but what is important in having a detox is that it can strengthen our immune system – our bodies own natural defence system that fights illness.

Parasite detox
Many medical people now feel that parasites are one of the main causes of many serious illnesses. We can pick them up from many sources, particularly via our drinking water and on fruit, so please filter water and wash fruits before eating. There are now various parasite detox treatments on the market. Also, many homeopaths have a range of treatments for parasites and toxins.

Healing energy medicine
We have an energy body that needs to be looked after. It is important that we clear any blockages within our energy body so that our energy flows correctly, allowing the linked organs to remain or become healthy. There are various therapies that this can help to achieve this such as: Hands-on-Healing, Acupuncture, Homeopathy and Shiatsu.

Mind, Body and Spirit
We are made up of different elements that can be defined as Mind, Body and Spirit and many believe that they are inexorably linked. Being relaxed and with positive thinking will help our state of mind. Having a good diet, exercise and sleep will help our body. Being at peace and harmony with oneself and with those around you will help our spirit. Within a holistic approach all these elements should be addressed.

Who to contact?
If you wish to consider a holistic approach, can I suggest that you try and contact a local holistic doctor, therapist or healer – should be in your local telephone directories or the Internet may help? Alternatively you can look at our web site www.gentletouch.co.uk, under the Self Help section which gives details of various association such as The British Holistic Medical Association -tel: 01273 725951.


 
 
 
 

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