For millennia, the therapeutic encounter has remained largely the same: a person who had been functioning normally and without giving a thought to their health now notices that something is wrong—they don’t feel well. They seek someone to help.
In various cultures and eras, this “practitioner” may have been called a shaman, a barber, a priest, or a physician. Usually, the practitioner does an assessment and then administers the healing agent, in whatever form that takes.
Then, around the turn of the 19th century, there arose a radically different way of understanding the human being and its treatment in health and disease. Modern science began breaking the body down into smaller parts and manipulating these parts. The value of this thinking soon proved itself in profound and practical ways: it uncovered methodologies for controlling infectious disease—the number-one killer of humans 200 years ago. Over time, chemistry produced antiseptics, antibiotics, and analgesic approaches that dramatically alleviated pain and suffering.
However, the impact of these discoveries was so dramatic that many of the old ways of thinking—the more holistic views of a person—were discarded. The medical treatment industry grew around chemistry and physiology and the mechanical manipulation of the body. The pharmaceutical and surgical industries were born. The science of the small and particular was a resounding success—until recently.
By discarding the more holistic, health-promoting, and nonphysical dimensions of what we are as humans, we have lost something essential in health care. While we improved our science and certainty for managing acute disease, we sacrificed what most people value about being alive, and we lost how healing works in chronic illness. Our improvements in health waned. The costs of medical care soared.
What We Can Do Differently
But by attending to the whole person and integrating this with the scientific process and curative medicine, we can unleash the power of healing and well-being in ways that humanity has never experienced before. In this blog post, I will describe how you can access healing and curing and bring them both into your health care and your life with integrative health.
The truth is that the brain and the rest of the body can be treated through a whole-person approach. By taking an integrative approach to medicine, we can nurture and heal the mind through behavior, social learning, and mind-body practices.
Below I reveal some basic integrative behaviors shown to facilitate healing.
Basic Nutrition Guidelines
- Always eat breakfast and don’t eat dinner too late;
- Limit your intake of calories and sugar;
- Avoid soda and refined carbohydrates;
- Drink more water;
- If possible, follow the Mediterranean Diet
Other Behaviors That Promote Health & Healing
- Make more time for fun, laughter, exercise, nature, compassion, and art
- Do less drinking, smoking, unhealthy eating, drugs, and violence
- Invest in healthy social connections
- Participate in group activities
- Exercise for at least 150 minutes a week, including 2 or more times a week of muscle-strengthening activities
- Establish boundaries around a healthy work/school-life balance
- Make time for a mindfulness activity, such as yoga, meditation, journaling, or deep breathing for 20 minutes 1 – 2 times a day
Whether you are struggling with a chronic disease, such as inflammation, or have no current health concerns, these are simple yet important steps that you can take in your everyday life to feel and function better.
Learn more in this free Integrative Health Guide.