by Shanti Dechen, CCAP, CAI, LMT
Daily we receive questions from our students and others requesting an essential oil that would be suitable for a specific aliment. To us there are greater benefits in a holistic approach to aromatherapy and healing; otherwise, you are missing many pieces to wholeness and masking the real issues towards complete healing.
Holistic comes from the Greek word 'holos' meaning whole.
A holistic aromatherapy treatment works on the whole person, taking into account factors such as their lifestyle, diet, medical history, emotional, mental, and spiritual states, as well as their physical side.
“In a world of specialization, we have been trained to think of medicine as a separate world—when we are sick, we go to doctors and follow their advice. This is starting to change, with the increasing popularity of alternative and holistic approaches to overall health and well-being.” —Gareth Cook, Boston Globe, 9 June 2002
According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health -- the primary goal of holistic medicine practice -- by gaining proper balance in life.
Holistic medicine practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one part is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. In this way, if people have imbalances (physical, emotional, or spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health.
A holistic doctor or practitioner may use all forms of health care, from conventional medication to alternative therapies, to balance a patient. For example, when a person suffering from migraine headaches pays a visit to a holistic doctor, instead of walking out solely with medications, the doctor will likely take a look at all the potential factors that may be causing the person's headaches, such as other health problems, diet and sleep habits, stress and personal problems, and preferred spiritual practices. The treatment plan may involve drugs to relieve symptoms, but also lifestyle modifications to help prevent the headaches from recurring.
Principles of Holistic Medicine
Holistic medicine is also based on the belief that unconditional love and support is the most powerful healer and a person is ultimately responsible for his or her own health and well-being.
Other principles of holistic medicine include the following:
Everyone has innate healing powers.
The patient is a person, not a disease.
Healing takes a team approach involving the patient and doctor, and addresses all aspects of a person's life using a variety of health care practices.
Treatment involves fixing the cause of the condition, not just alleviating the symptoms. Holistic practitioners use a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients take responsibility for their own well-being and achieve optimal health.
Depending on the practitioner's training, these may include:
Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. This may include diet, exercise, psychotherapy, relationship and spiritual counseling, and more.
Complementary and alternative therapies may include aromatherapy, herbology, acupuncture, chiropractic care, homeopathy, massage therapy, naturopathy, and others.
We encourage you to find balance in your daily lifestyle!