What does it mean to be holistic? Merriam-Webster defines holistic as relating to or concerned with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts. Holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body; holistic ecology views humans and the environment as a single system.
What is your definition? Looking at the bigger picture.
Seeing the forest for the trees.
Living life with the concrete knowledge that a variety of disparate pieces affect any given situation.
Life isn’t lived in a vacuum.
Holistic medicine treats mind, body, and spirit.
If you look at habits of the longest living peoples, they have a spiritual practice and a strong sense of community that further nourishes the spirit. This is something many Americans have lost.
How long have you lived a holistic lifestyle? All my life. My parents embraced the essence of holistic and taught me.
My mom had books on herbs and grew them. My dad had us turn our backyard into a huge garden.
We had neighbors who were big time into natural and homemade.
We’d go to Detroit’s Eastern Market with them and then she and my mom would spend the day cooking and freezing sauces and other homemade dishes.
Her husband had zero cavities.
He told me it was eating fresh vegetables and fruits.
My grandparents also believed in a holistic approach though they didn’t always live it.
The ones who didn’t had numerous health problems and died younger than they should have. They were also hospitalized multiple times in their later years.
I was fortunate to have a British MD set me on a firmer path.
A second-generation doctor who grew up in China during World War II, he learned multiple approaches to medicine, including the ultimate holistic view – Traditional Chinese Medicine.
At thirteen, when I had a bad cough, he asked if I would try something called Robina instead of a prescription.
It’s black currant juice.
My only concern was that it stop the cough so I could get some sleep.
Seeing that I embraced a more natural way, he began to teach me about herbs and other natural healing methods.
He gave me books to read, pointed me at other people and other doctors to confer with, and went out of his way to educate me in holistic healing. We continued to work together until he passed away.
I’ve worked with other doctors of various holistic disciplines.
The principles of TCM and a tangent yet related principle, Feng Shui, helped me find remedies for EMF Sensitivity. The Chinese have recognized the impact of geomagnetics on human health for thousands of years.
Did anything else influence you to embrace a holistic lifestyle? The brain surgery. Some of the post-operative procedures I went through were so excessive they would be considered abusive.
I literally read in a journal recently that “Of course, we would never do this, it would be considered child abuse.” Uh-huh.
The neurosurgeon who saved my life is from Peru and embraces a holistic view of healing. He was definitely not the problem.
Every time I had to see a different doctor for whatever reason they would order me to undergo yet another invasive and/or painful medical test, even when I’d already had the test, sometimes multiple times.
They would tell me that it wasn’t their lab so they couldn’t trust the results. BS, if you ask me.
After years of this kind of crap, I’d had enough of the “Western” approach.
My neurosurgeon’s words to me when I went off to college? “Live your life. You will continue to heal. Keep up the good work and live your life.”
He didn’t order me to undergo a whole other slew of invasive medical tests.
I keep in touch with him and share discoveries I’ve made by living a holistic life. Such as the fact excess calcium crystals, in the form of scar tissue at my surgery site, are responsible for years of horrible migraines.
Calcium, a metal, is an EMF conductor.
Starting forty-eight hours before a thunderstorm I would get awful migraines that lasted until the system moved on. He was never able to figure out why I had such debilitating migraines at the scar site. I had a full workup at the Headache Clinic in Ann Arbor and they weren’t able to figure it out either.
Nothing ever took away the pain. Narcotic pain relievers let me sleep til the system passed through.
Finding an alternative to narcotic pain relievers was one of my first goals after earning my doctorate in holistic medicine.
I despise the way that stuff makes me feel.
Potassium often did the trick but what got rid of them for good was getting rid of the excess calcium.
As I eliminated the excess calcium, scar tissue in my body shrank and disappeared.
The area in my head where I experienced pain covered the entire side of my face, my jaw, and shot down through teeth. Now it’s the size of a pinhead deep within the brain where the injury was.
I still occasionally get a headache when the weather pattern changes but the pain level doesn’t require even an aspirin.
I’ve been freely sharing my experiences on emfconductor.com, both in blog entries and in books.
I also have an iPhone app written to be shared with health care providers so they can work with patients who want to use natural healing whenever possible to cure autoimmune diseases.
What’s the challenge with holistic living? People pay it lip service. They don’t understand what it is. They think if they take a multi-vitamin, drink red wine and eat dark chocolate they are doing holistic healing. They don’t realize it requires a shift in the way you live your life.
To be healthy you may have to make some tough choices. You may need to change jobs or careers or move to another part of the country.
People want health but don’t want to understand why their health isn’t where it should be.
There is always an emotional and psychological component in autoimmune conditions. You probably weren’t born that way so something you did – turn left instead of following your instincts to turn right – landed you where you are. Start working backward and figure it out.
Another challenge is that people don’t recognize the warning signs early on. This stems from, I believe, a lack of understanding that it’s part of the whole.
Can you give an example? People get sick, say, with a cold. Instead of following the body’s warning – that something is wrong and it needs rest – they pop a pill to mask the symptoms.
Of course, there was a time I did this too. Particularly, early in my corporate career when I regularly worked 65 – 80 hours a week.
If someone wants to embrace a holistic lifestyle, what should they do? There is no one right answer to that. I guess I would suggest that they look at the part of their life that isn’t working and start there.
They may have physical health but they are spiritually starved.
By the way, nurturing the spirit doesn’t mean joining a church and turning over your spiritual power.
I talk to God directly. I don’t go through a priest though I’ve consulted with them. Some have consulted with me, too.
God always finds a way to get a message through.
We just have to listen.
There are really great churches and religious communities but that isn’t the only path.
What if you are atheist? You still need a sense of community. Find a community you connect with. You’re probably passionate about something; start with that.
What about healthy eating and exercise? This country is obsessed with the idea that exercise will cure everything and make them immortal. At least, that’s how a certain segment of the population acts. Walking is probably the best form of exercise there is.
Good for the mind, too.
Walk with a buddy or walk on your own. Walk in a city or go to a park. Just walk.
For people suffering from an autoimmune condition, outside of gentle-paced walking, exercising is one of the worst things they can do. The adrenals are weak. They need to be strengthened, not beat on.
Yoga and gentle stretching is probably another really good form of exercise. I have never embraced yoga, though as a former gymnast, I love stretching.
I also did Pilates.
And food? Here again, people think one size fits all; the right diet will fix all their health and wellness woes.
If their neighbor or coworker lost twenty pounds on the Paleo diet then it must be the answer to their weight woes!
Food is used by the body to build cells, hormones, and enzymes. It’s used to fuel the body but also to repair it. The wrong food will harm where the right food will heal. People don’t bother to learn which way of eating is best for them.
You have to customize your meal plan specific to your needs.
Too many people go for convenience.
It’s far more convenient to just eat what’s available, right? Well, you are trading health for convenience – make no mistake.
That’s not to say you can’t eat pizza or Mickey D’s once in awhile. It’s when it becomes a way of life and most of your meals come from a box that it becomes a health threat.
You talk about the need to change and adapt? People don’t realize how often their nutritional needs change. They think, if they’ve kept their weight steady, the way they ate in their twenties will work in their fifties.
Needs change when you age, move, or change jobs. Needs may change when you take up a new hobby, start taking medication, or experience any of a number of life changes.
People need to change what they do in order to reflect this.
A post-pregnancy diet for a nursing mom should be far more calorie dense than for a mom who isn’t nursing. If you start running, you better learn how a runner needs to eat.
People also need to eat differently after they’ve recovered from an illness.
Including not going back to the way you ate before – which likely contributed to getting sick in the first place.
Do you think the Mediterranean Diet is holistic? Not the way most Americans implement it.
They don’t understand that the people who live that lifestyle live in another part of the world, with a different climate, and different minerals in the ground their food is grown in and on which their cattle graze.
They are part of a different culture. Not all their ways will translate.
They also don’t process food the way we do in the US.
Many people who visit Europe find that the food allergies they have here, including gluten intolerance, disappear while they are there.
There are multiple Mediterranean menus.
They may not all work for you.
How do you cut through all the noise? Accept that you have to personalize your lifestyle. Take ownership of your health choices. Try something and if it causes a problem, don’t continue.
If you start taking a medication and feel worse it does not necessarily mean that’s a sign it’s working.
If it feels good, or if you feel better after eating or drinking something? You have data. Gather data and you start to see a picture.