Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses care of the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to promote optimal health, and prevent and treat disease by addressing contributing factors.
In practice, this means that each person is seen as a unique individual, rather than an example of a particular disease. Disease is understood to be the result of physical, emotional, spiritual, social and environmental imbalance. Healing, therefore, takes place naturally when these aspects of life are brought into proper balance. The role of the practitioner is as guide, mentor and role model; the patient must do the work - changing lifestyle, beliefs and old habits in order to facilitate healing. All appropriate methods may be used, from medication to meditation.
Holistic medicine focuses on how the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual elements of the body are interconnected to maintain wellness, or holistic health. When one part of the body or mind is not working properly, it is believed to affect the whole person. Holistic approaches focus on the whole person rather than just on the illness or part of the body that is not healthy.
Yoga is a system of exercise that allows you to take control of your mind and body. It uses smooth and flowing movements that tone and stretch your body and increase strength and flexibility in your muscles and joints. It also utilizes the power of the mind to help with the exercise and to increase the harmony between body and mind. Yoga will also help improve your physical health, tone your muscles and internal organs, relive tension, reduce weight, and strengthen your bones.
The health benefits of yoga. The potential health benefits of yoga are numerous and may include:
Stress reduction. With its quiet, precise movements, yoga draws your focus away from your busy, chaotic day and toward calm as you move your body through poses that require balance and concentration.
Increased fitness. As you learn and refine new poses, you may enjoy improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And this means you're less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavors or in your daily activities.
Management of chronic health conditions. Yoga might help with a variety of health conditions, such as cancer, depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia, by helping with sleep problems, fatigue and mood.
Weight loss. If you're overweight or have binge-eating disorder, yoga may help you make the healthy lifestyle changes necessary to gain control of your eating and drop those extra pounds.
Heart benefits.Perhaps one of the most studied areas of the health benefits of yoga is its effect on heart disease. Yoga has long been known to lower blood pressure and slow the heart rate. A slower heart rate can benefit people with hypertension, heart disease, and stroke.
While you shouldn't expect yoga to cure you or offer 100 percent relief, it can help some health conditions when combined with standard treatment. And if you already enjoy good health, yoga can be an enjoyable supplement to your regular fitness routine.
Healing for Surgical and Cancer Patients. Yoga can also reduce physical pain, anxiety and depression during medical treatments. Breathing techniques, meditation and a gentle, personal yoga practice help make the stress associated with cancer and post-surgical treatments more manageable. In the October 2008 issue of Yoga Journal the article “Come Back From Breast Cancer With Yoga” by Katherine Griffin tells of one woman’s journey through cancer treatment. Connie has been helping patients recover from injury, illness, and chronic pain for more than twenty years.
Connie Nation is a certified hatha Yoga instructor.
She became a yoga teacher at the Master Yoga Academy in La Jolla, California, and has taught at the academy and the Deepak Chopra Center as well.
Her twenty-year practice combines medical massage and yoga for a holistic approach to relieve pain and heal the body.