Can you believe holistic medicine has been around for half a century now? That’s fifty years of teaching people how to live in a way that honors their bodies, minds, and spirits. But, when it comes to making holistic health and wellness the rule and not the exception, we still have a long way to go.
The father of holistic medicine, Dr. Norm Shealy, is a living testament to the practice he preaches. And, not only does he make holistic health and wellness available to and achievable for everyone, he advocates for it.
So, in this article, we’re going to discuss how to achieve a healthy, vibrant life…Shealy-style.
Because Western medicine is “reactionary,” it conditions people to think of their health as something that gets “broken” and has to get “fixed.”
Holistic medicine, on the other hand, is preventive, positive, and kind to the body, mind, and spirit.
And that last component, the spirit, is perhaps the biggest difference between conventional Western medicine and holistic health and wellness.
Holistic medicine honors and works within the “wholeness” of the person. It starts with the unequivocal truth that we are spirits relying on physical bodies to do our work on earth, not the other way around.
And, quite frankly, it’s ridiculous – negligent, actually – to ignore one part of the whole in order to “fix” the other.
Are you aware that humans are born with the genetic intention to live at least 100 years? You have it within you from the get-go.
And yet, the average age of death for Americans is 79. That’s a loss of over 20% of potential life!
If you’re going to reclaim any of that potential, you’re not going to do it at the eleventh hour in a hospital. You’re going to have to do it preventively, consciously, intentionally – holistically – throughout your life.
(For a glimpse into some of the unhealthy practices that have been the norm in traditional medicine, read here.)
So let’s dig in. What do you have to do to achieve holistic health and wellness?
- Keep your body mass index (BMI) between 18 and 24.
Your body has a lot more to do in this life than lug around loads of tissue that contribute absolutely nothing positive. Carrying extra weight for your frame is like having someone sleeping on your couch, eating your food, and not paying rent.
That extra weight creeps up on you if you’re not paying attention to everything on this list. And, by the time you creep over “24” into the overweight/pre-obesity range, you are significantly decreasing your life expectancy.
By the time you reach the obesity benchmark, you’re in a tight race with someone who smokes three packs of cigarettes a day.
- STOP. SMOKING. PERIOD!
Why, why, why would anyone start smoking, especially with all we know about the crooked tobacco industry?
Do you know that, just a few decades ago, hospital candy stripers used to sell cigarettes to patients? That’s right. You could kill yourself and your fellow patients and the medical staff right from your hospital bed.
Seriously, folks, smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death. And yet, 22% of people still do it.
- Eat 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
Fruits and vegetables are your essential source of antioxidants and fiber. And you need a minimum of 8-10 servings a day to meet your body’s basic requirement.
Most people, however, are lucky to get one or two servings.
This imperative component to achieving holistic health and wellness has more to it than simply “listening to your mother” and “learning to like Brussels sprouts.” It is linked to the prevention of some of the greatest morbidities.
Strive to eat fruits and veggies low on the glycemic index, meaning those that lead to a slower rise in blood sugar.
Anyone with diabetes knows the dangers of blood-sugar spikes. Stay away from potatoes, rice, and wheat, and opt for high-fiber veggies and low-glycemic fruits.
Now, if hitting the 8-10 mark sounds too difficult for a daily habit, read on….
Between the effects of not getting enough essential nutrients in your diet and taking in all the pollutants that accompany today’s food supply, you’ll need a nutritional boost. And that’s where quality supplements come in.
When it comes to meeting your quota of fruits and vegetables, for example, we have a favorite supplement for you. The Nature Blessed Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate, found in “real” grocery stores, is an ideal food substitute for those missed servings.
Other essential vitamins depleted by our polluted world include D3, B-complex, and C. You need to supplement your intake of these vitamins, as they simply don’t appear in the natural concentration they should.
The Shealy-Sorin Wellness Essentials and Youth Formula will help you maintain these vitamins at optimal levels.
- Move your body.
Your body was created to move. Remember, you are a spirit using a physical body for your work in this life.
Movement/exercise is essential to countless health parameters – physical, mental, spiritual. Even 30 minutes a day, five days a week, of walking counts as exercise.
But moving your arms while standing and bending at the knees? Believe it or not, this does more to move blood through your heart than walking does.
So find something that makes you look forward to moving your body. Dance, swim, ride a bike, pretend to be a conductor at a Beethoven concert. Just. Move.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Think sleep is essential only for babies and the elderly, but a luxury for everyone else? Think again.
Sleep is the time during which your body gets to work restoring itself. Cellular regeneration, mental clarifying, immunity and mood boosting, even weight maintenance.
As we finish this list with a focus on stress, keep in mind that sleep is imperative to every aspect of your health. And that includes – even starts with – stress.
- Learn to detach from stress.
Beneath the physical symptoms of almost all illness and pain is that monster we call stress.
You can’t avoid stressors in life, but you can take control of how your body responds to them.
Do you want to be the whirling dervish or the Zen master when chaos lands on your doorstep?
You can’t control the chaos of the outside world, but you can (and must) control the chaos of your inner world.
We know – you have too much on your plate to think about meditation and “living Zen.”
But, if you can give 18 minutes twice a day for three months to Autogenic Training, you will be a new person. You will have control over what comes in and what stays out.
And you will wonder how you have lived this long without this practice.
Biogenics®, the advanced form of autogenic training, can give you relief from anxiety, depression, and even chronic pain.
Take that possibility up the list and think about how many current blocks to your health would change if you could detach from stress. You would sleep better, have more energy for exercise, keep your weight in check, and not resort to stress-crutches like smoking and drinking.
Hopefully you’re seeing by now that caring for yourself “in part” means caring for yourself “in whole.” There really is no other way.
Conventional Western medicine has its place for acute, short-term issues. But it doesn’t exist to treat your life as the integrated complexity it is. And it’s certainly not equipped to effectively deal with chronic pain and illness.
Picture in your mind the way a surgeon compartmentalizes his or her working area. Everything but the area being worked on is covered.
While obvious practical reasons exist for doing this, the metaphor is there to help you distinguish the difference between conventional and holistic medicine.
Treating what has been damaged or the symptoms of an illness is one thing.
Treating the entirety of the person – body, mind, and spirit – is quite another.
And only by recognizing and honoring yourself in your entirety will you achieve holistic health and wellness.
Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D. is the father of holistic medicine. Dr. Sergey Sorin is a holistic physician as well as the CEO and medical director of the Shealy-Sorin Wellness Institute. Both doctors recommend the Biogenics® System as part of your overall commitment to a healthy, resilient life.