Holistic medicine is the art and science of healing that addresses the whole person - body, mind, and spirit. The practice of holistic medicine integrates conventional and complementary therapies to prevent and treat disease, and most importantly, to promote optimal health. This condition of holistic health is defined as the unlimited and unimpeded free flow of life force energy through body, mind, and spirit.
Holistic medicine encompasses all safe and appropriate modalities of diagnosis and treatment. It includes analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, spiritual and lifestyle elements. Holistic medicine focuses upon patient education and participation in the healing process.
The Principles of Holistic Medical Practice
This material is used with the permission of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA). Various professional members of the American Holistic Medical Association (AHMA) contributed to the development of these principles.
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
"There are many paths to the top of the mountain." This statement by the great sages of human history can be used to describe the various ways to reach the goal of vigorous health and wholeness. Although this is true, in more than 38 years of professional experience working with thousands of patients struggling with a wide variety of conditions, we have found one particular path to wellness most reliably and effectively helps the largest number of people with the greatest success. We recommend this path to you as the most important thing you can do to improve your health.
This path to health is called the 3LS Wellness Program. Named after the image of support, stability, and balance of a wooden 3-Legged Stool, the "3LS" Wellness Program consists of the three practices most likely to help improve anyone's health condition: Relaxation, Diet, and Exercise. We have found the most effective practice of these three is accomplished as follows:
These three practices work together. They are fundamentally interconnected, and each enhances the effects of the other. Careful practice of the three legs or parts of the 3LS Program can greatly enhance your health overall, and many chronic symptoms will clear up totally. The benefits of the Wellness Program come from helping your body heal itself, because that's the only way you can truly be healthy.
This general outline of the 3LS will benefit most people's health. There are further specifics and details for achieving the most efficient reversal of chronic symptoms using these practices. However, even just beginning to follow the very general guidelines presented in this article will start most people on a path of health and healing.
If you have a specific health problem or chronic condition that you are wishing to heal, for fastest results, start the 3LS Wellness Program and practice all three parts as perfectly as possible for at least six months to a year. We have seen this basic short-term health benefit program produce the quickest and most certain benefits for the largest number of patients. However, since results are individual, some people will get better sooner while others will take longer.
After you are feeling better, continue practicing the 3LS for maintaining that good health, as well as for preventing countless health problems. You may not have to be as diligent and perfect with it when you reach this stage of improved health. However, it is also all right, and often a good idea, to practice the three legs of the 3LS Wellness Program diligently forever.
To begin: Choose the aspect of the 3LS that interests you the most -- Relaxation, Diet, or Exercise -- and start making it a part of your life. After you've done that practice for a while and feel comfortable with it, add another one. While you can start all three practices simultaneously (if the main focus of your life is health improvement), most people do better starting with just one. So pick the one practice you would enjoy doing the most, and begin there.
How the 3LS Wellness Program works: The 3LS aims toward enhancing the function of the bodymind. The term bodymind describes the reality of how closely the function of mind and body are interrelated. Anything that really helps any part helps the whole, because everything works together and is interconnected like a spider's web. The 3LS improves the web of a person's total function, which allows the bodymind to do the job of rebalancing and healing itself. The human bodymind is really the most powerful tool that we have for healing and preventing illness.
A wooden 3-Legged Stool balances well on all three legs. Similarly, the 3LS Wellness Program is most effective at rebalancing your health when you do all three practices comprehensively and simultaneously. Each aspect of the 3LS enhances the others in an exponential way, creating a synergistic effect. It works like this: let's say you get 3 points for doing one leg. When you add a second, you get 9 points rather than 6. If you add the third activity, you get 27! Our normal thinking is if we get 3 for each part, we get 9. But the way in which the body, mind, and spirit respond to our efforts is not 3 plus 3 plus 3, but 3 x 3 x 3. Everything directly affects everything else.
Practicing only one or two parts of the 3LS Program will still bring you health benefits. However, there really is a synergy or power generated by doing all three aspects of the program simultaneously. This explains why eating Whole Foods won't address or resolve all the problems without also adding Skilled Relaxation. And Exercise won't solve everything by itself. The best, and quickest, results are obtained by utilizing all three legs at the same time. However, you do not have to start all three practices simultaneously. As we mentioned, when just beginning, most people would be better off choosing one practice and then using the benefits from that activity to have the energy to begin the next.
The best way to avoid and resolve many chronic health conditions is to be too healthy to have any of them! The 3LS Wellness Program approach to health can help you do just that.
This article has been adapted from the book, "Recapture Your Health: A Step-By-Step Program to Reverse Chronic Symptoms and Create Lasting Wellness", co-authored by Walt Stoll, M.D. and Jan DeCourtney, C.M.T.
This material is used with the permission of the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA).
The Internet, with immediate access to a vast world of health information and services, has emerged as a powerful medium to help in bringing about a planetary transformation in the delivery of health care, as well as the education of people in the principles of healthy living.
Today individuals are looking to manage their own health through a wellness-oriented lifestyle, enlightened self-care, and when necessary, the use of natural therapies which honor the body's innate wisdom and stimulate self-healing. Consumers want a full range of treatment options from both conventional and alternative medicine. The key word is choice. The Internet can provide the elements for developing a wellness-oriented lifestyle, and the information, resources and education for effective self-care--and the Internet brings the information on-demand, into our homes and offices.
Internet resources for a wellness lifestyle include resources for nutrition, fitness, stress management, yoga and meditation. Imagine listening to guided meditations, visualizations or relaxation exercises via Real Audio technolog--real-time stress reduction on the Internet while sitting at your computer during a work break--or finding the latest fitness tips to help you with your workout program or to deal effectively with a nagging shoulder injury--or a resource for endless healthy recipes and dietary programs. Imagine a resource available worldwide 24 hours a day to help you stay in peak condition physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Self-care information and resources abound on the Internet. One of the rapidly emerging forms of self-care in America today is the use of dietary supplements, herbs and homeopathic remedies. In fact, Nutrition Business Journal (Vol. 1, No. 1) estimates that the natural products industry has now reached some $17 billion in annual sales and is in a state of accelerated growth. Information on different forms of traditional medicine (often referred to as "alternative medicine") from around the world--once difficult for mainstream consumers to access--is now only a click of the mouse away on the Internet. Comprehensive web sites have been developed for the fields of naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture, Ayurveda and herbal medicine, supported by scientific research and consumer-friendly information. Again, the key word is choice. We want the freedom to make intelligent, informed choices concerning our personal health and wellness and the health of our loved ones.
This material is used with the permission of the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA).
Nature encourages health and balance. In nature's splendor we find all of the food we need to radiate with a healthy glow. While the foods we eat are only one aspect of being healthy, diet is definitely an important part. Studies reveal that eight of the ten leading causes of death in North America are directly related to diet. That's a sobering statistic and yet we are all responsible for the foods we eat. Nobody shoves the food down our throats. Many of us make the wrong food choices every day by consuming foods that were never intended for our body and contribute to most common major diseases.
This article is about how to use food as medicine - to make the best food choices to reduce your risks of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's, arthritis, common forms of cancer, premature aging, vision problems and mental dysfunction, and offer ways to increase your energy, vitality and a sense of empowerment over your body and life.
Almonds - What can be easier to snack on when you're hungry and on the go? Two ounces, or about 40 almonds, give you more than 50 percent of your daily requirement of magnesium, a mineral that's important for heart health. Almonds are also a good source of calcium, vitamin E, potassium, folate (the plant form of folic acid), fiber and monosaturated fat, all heart-healthy nutrients. In 2002, a study published in Circulation found that after eating about 2 1/2 ounces of almonds a day for one month, participants had significantly reduced their total cholesterol and lowered several other risk factors for heart disease as well.
Asparagus - A superior alkalizing vegetable, asparagus has the ability to quickly change the pH of the body as evidenced by how rapidly you can smell it in your urine after you eat it. The odor is the result of asparagus changing the body chemistry and eliminating wastes while it breaks down its constituents of nitrogen, sulphur and ammonia. Just 20 calories in six spears, asparagus is a good source of folate, beta carotene and potassium. Asparagus is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are substances that knock out free radicals, thus affording cellular protection.
Avocados - Often referred to as nature's butter, avocados are rich in phytochemicals. They have about a quarter of the calories of total fat of dairy butter, by weight. And ounce for ounce, they provide more heart-healthy monosaturated fat, vitamin E, folate, potassium and fiber than other fruits. Yes, it is a fruit. Avocados contain the antioxidant glutathione and are the number one fruit source of the cholesterol-lowering phytosterol. Evidence suggests that these valuable subnutrients may help prevent certain types of cancers and heart disease.
Blueberries - Known as an excellent laxative, blood cleanser and antioxidant, blueberries are the only food that has been shown to not just prevent, but also actually reverse abnormal physical and mental decline. Despite their small size, one cup of blueberries contains only 80 calories. Referred to as the "brain berry," blueberries are packed with red pigments that have been linked to prevention - and even reversal - of age-related mental decline and anti-cancer effects.
Broccoli - A supreme superfood, broccoli has been proven effective as a food medicine against cancer, heart disease and a host of other serious conditions. First it destroys any carcinogenic compounds that you've ingested, and then it creates enzymes that eat up any carcinogens left over from that reaction. It's also a good source of beta carotene, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B-3, vitamin B-5, vitamin C, potassium, folate, chlorophyll and fiber.
Cantaloupe - Cantaloupe is an excellent cleanser and rehydrator because of its high water content. Like all melons, for maximum benefit, eat cantaloupe alone. This beautiful fruit has lots of zinc, which is important for the prostate gland. It's also a powerhouse of potassium with 1/4 cantaloupe providing 1/4 of your daily potassium requirements!
Chili Peppers - Chilies-or hot peppers-add spice and interest to many foods. Chilies raise your endorphin level and are a cornucopia of nutrients, including beta carotene and vitamin C. In fact, chilies are so rich in vitamin C that they have been used as natural remedies for colds, coughs, bronchitis and sinusitis around the globe.
Cinnamon - Cinnamon is a highly versatile flavoring as well as a carminative that relieves bloating and gas. Adding cinnamon to food, especially to sugary ones, helps normalize blood sugar by making insulin more sensitive. So find ways to add cinnamon to sweet foods such as fresh fruit.
Coconut - Coconut butter (also referred to as coconut oil) is a raw saturated fat containing mostly medium-chain fatty acids, which the body can metabolize efficiently and convert to energy quickly. Added regularly to a balanced diet, it may help lower cholesterol by promoting its conversion into pregnenolone, the precursor to many hormones, including progesterone. Rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, folate and vitamin C, coconut also helps regulate thyroid function.
Flaxseed - Often referred to as "nutritional gold," flaxseed is a rich source of essential fatty acids, in particular Omega-3's. As well as playing a critical role in normal physiology, essential fatty acids are shown to be therapeutic and protect against heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, many skin diseases and others. Numerous studies have uncovered the benefits of flaxseed to help alleviate constipation and bloating, eliminate toxic waste, strengthen the blood, reduce inflammation, accelerate fat loss and reduce depression.
Garlic - A veritable treasure chest of nutrients, garlic is a rich source of unique sulfur compounds that keep your body chemistry in balance. Well-documented studies from major medical universities around the world have found aged garlic extract to be effective in its ability to resist and fight cancer, cardiovascular disease, other respiratory ailments and infections and fatigue. It also shows promise against a major risk factor in Alzheimer's disease and atherosclerosis.
Grapefruit - As with all other citrus fruits, grapefruit is rich in vitamin C and potassium and very low in calories. This fresh raw juice eases constipation and improves digestion by increasing the flow of gastric juices. One whole grapefruit has only 100 calories and it makes a perfect snack food. Deep inside the white rind and membranes of this fruit (lemons and oranges, too) lies a miraculous group of plant compounds -- bioflavonoids, citric acids and pectins -- which protect against cancer and heart disease. Grapefruit pectin reduces the accumulation of atherosclerotic plaque in patients afflicted with atherosclerosis and strengthens blood vessels and capillaries.
Kale - One of the most nutritious greens in the garden, kale is part of the cruciferous family and is a rich source of indoles, glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, a group of potent phytochemicals that help prevent breast and lung cancers. Kale helps prevent age-related macular degeneration of the eyes, oxygenates the blood, improves red blood cell counts and aids the fundamental processes of cell circulation and respiration. It also is an outstanding source of beta carotene, vitamins C and E, and calcium.
Kelp - A stellar, nutrient-dense sea vegetable, kelp is especially rich in potassium, iron, iodine, riboflavin, dietary fiber, and vitamins A, B, C, E, D and K. It also contains a natural substance that enhances flavor and tenderizes. Kelp contains an element that helps remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body, plus works as a blood purifier, relieves arthritis stiffness and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health.
Lemon - Although acid to the taste, the juice of a lemon is a great alkalizer for the body. When our bodies are too acid, our immune systems are compromised and our energy abates. If taken in the morning on an empty stomach diluted with water, lemon juice is known to improve liver function and has been used to help eliminate kidney stones. The organic acids in all citrus fruits stimulate digestive juices and relieve constipation. Added to water or fresh juice, it helps relieve colds, coughs, and sore throats. If you have dry mouth, licking a lemon or sipping unsweetened diluted lemon juice can stimulate saliva flow.
Parsley - This culinary herb is a bona fide storehouse of synergistic nutrients that rejuvenate and detoxify the body. A good source of vitamin C, iron, calcium, sodium, beta carotene, vanadium, manganese and chlorophyll, parsley can be used in so many ways. Parsley contains nutritional precursors for the manufacture of adrenal hormones, so it's a great stress-buster. Studies show parsley to be effective in slowing the aging process, reducing depression, lowering cholesterol, strengthening the kidneys and detoxifying the cells. Many herbalists recommend parsley to relieve the symptoms of goiter and rheumatism, and to facilitate menstruation.
Tomatoes - Over 90% of this beautiful, low calorie fruit is water. It's alkaline and jam-packed with nutrients and phytochemicals. Tomatoes provide vitamin C, potassium, chromium, biotin, lutein and zeaxanthin, alpha and beta carotene, the B vitamins and lots of lycopene, an important part of the antioxidant defense network in the skin. Numerous epidemiological studies have found that people who eat lots of tomatoes are significantly less likely to get cancer. Study results were strongest for prostate, lung and stomach cancer.
This material contains highlights from a more comprehensive article "20 SuperFoods & Healthy Kitchen Tips" and from Susan Smith Jones's forthcoming book SuperFoods & Healthy Kitchen Tips.
This material is used with the permission of the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA).
It's the end of the day. You're tired. You've worked hard. The children have finally gone to bed. You're looking forward to some peace and quiet by yourself. All of a sudden you hear the cries of your normally loving youngster: "I can't sleep!" Or, your teen charges into the room and insists that they can't fall asleep because they're worrying about an exam the next day - a recent argument with their best friend - or a problem with their teacher. Wouldn't you like them to learn a technique to help let go of worries and tensions of the day and fall asleep peacefully and easily?
Guided imagery has been an especially effective tool in alleviating many kinds of sleep disturbances. When children and adolescents have difficulty sleeping at night, imagery can offer a soothing and comforting way to drift off into dreams. Children discover their own solutions by using tools such as meeting a wise 'animal' friend for advice or receiving a special gift to help fall asleep.
For example, one 11 year old girl was afraid to sleep alone in the aftermath of the recent L.A. earthquake. (Gail* had been sleeping in her parents room since the quake.) We went on an underwater voyage to explore her feelings and she was met by a wise mermaid who had several messages for her: "You are safe"; "You are just as safe in your room as in your parents'"; "Nothing can hurt you"; and "You can be calm." These internal messages were much more powerful than if she heard the same advice from her parent or therapist. The mermaid promised to watch over and protect her. After this session Gail began to sleep in her own room.
Gail then developed a fear that someone "bad" was going to come into her room if she slept alone; however, she was able to go "inside" and ask what could protect her if she slept in her own room. Gail imaged a "magic purple light" around her door that would keep out any harmful or scary people and only allow in friendly and helpful ones. Sleeping alone then became much easier for her.
You may choose to consider some of these techniques and adapt them to your children's personal needs. The following "guided" imagery is very effective for deep sleep. The adolescent that this particular imagery was developed for had difficulty falling and staying asleep because of ongoing stresses in her life. She found that listening to this imagery on tape each night helped tremendously. You will notice the images are simple and repetitive. It is helpful to use a very, very slow voice with relaxing, soft music in the background. You may choose to create a tape for your children or have them make one in their own voice.
We're going to take some time now for you to relax ... and go very, very deep inside. To a place of peace ... of quiet ... and of sleep. Be aware that with each breath you take your breathing gets deeper and deeper. And your body gets more and more relaxed. Imagine yourself lying down in a wonderful comfortable bed. Perhaps it's like a fluffy white cloud that you can sink into. And with each breath your body sinks deeper ... and deeper into this soft fluffy white cloud.
With each breath you bring in a beautiful golden white light to help relax and put yourself to sleep. This golden white light washes over your body ... melts through the top of your head ... washes over your eyes ... down your cheeks ... your throat. Relaxing ... going into a deep sleep ... deeper and deeper as this beautiful golden white light washes over your body. And each breath you take brings you deeper and deeper into sleep ...relaxing.
And letting go ... letting go of the day ... of the week ... of anything that's being held ... As you breathe this light melts through your body ... through your neck ... into your shoulders ... down your arms ... relaxing ... deeper and deeper ... into your chest ... around your heart. Your heart opens and accepts the healing light ... releasing ... breathing deeper and deeper. Going deeper into your sleep. Easily breathing into your belly ... allowing this golden white light to blanket you. A blanket of sleep. as it goes down into your legs ... into your feet ...
A blanket of sleep tucking you in ... taking you back to a time that you slept as soon as you touched the pillow. Going back into that deep sleep state. Going back to a time that was easy for you to sleep ... where you were comforted and safe. Perhaps it's a long, long time ago. But there is a time where you are peaceful ... and happy ... and you are sleeping easily. Giving you comfort knowing you are totally safe. As you go deeper and deeper into your sleep. Dreaming ... peaceful thoughts ... precious thoughts.
Allowing yourself to go deeper and deeper ... until there is a door in front of you. A door that leads you down ... into a deeper sleep. And there is a special person waiting for you at that door. A very wise and loving person. Who takes your hand and leads you to an even deeper sleep. Where you're comfortable and safe. And all the thoughts of the day are let go. And you're totally at peace ... in your sleep. Totally at peace and calm.
As you go deeper and deeper ... the blanket of sleep covers you. You're so comfortable you find yourself drifting into the dreams. Into the wonderful dreams ... drifting in the warm blanket. Going deeper and deeper, deeper and deeper... into your sleep ... easily. Colors are floating around you. And the smells of sleep and comfort. As you continue to go deeper and deeper into your sleep. Allowing yourself to drift easily. Surprising yourself at how easy it is to sleep. How wonderful. How much you deserve to sleep easily... peacefully... Releasing all the tightness in your body.
As you sleep ... allow your body to rest. Cherish your body. Take care of yourself. All is good ... as you sleep. ......... And each night you go to sleep it is easier and easier to fall asleep quickly. You have peaceful and restful nights ... as you deserve. As you accept that ... you sleep ... deeply.... ......
Although we have touched on only a few, there are numerous ways to use imagery with children in times of sleep disturbances as well as with other concerns. Guided and interactive imagery have been powerful and effective tools to help children re-develop and re-member their internal resources and strengths temporarily lost during times of stress. We are only limited by our own and out children's imagination. Their wisdom is within; we are merely guides for helping them shine their light.
*Names changed for confidentiality.
Adapted from an article that originally appeared in Awareness Magazine November/December 1994 issue.
This material is used with the permission of the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA).
Getting, and keeping yourself motivated for your fitness lifestyle is a wrestling match every enthusiast experiences at some time or another. Don't think about throwing in your towel; there are plenty of proven solutions, and they're closer than you think!
As a fitness consultant I do more than just instructing exercise sessions. I also integrate a variety of mind-conditioning tools which inspire, educate, and motivate each of my students. These instruments train the MIND so the students can then train their bodies. However, in today's fast-paced cosmetic-driven society there are too many fitness enthusiasts who approach their transformational quests without the right frame of mind, and this leads to failure.
To many of you it is no surprise that there really is a mind-body connection. So when I say solutions are closer than you think, I mean the answers are located between your ears; so listen carefully.
When the mind is conditioned (possessing the motivational power and knowledge that enables one to enthusiastically, and confidently, approach their exercise and eating programs) the body, over time, responds by manifesting its genetic potential; I refer to this as a re-engineering process.
By becoming your own body engineer you literally re-engineer yourself from the inside out. So get yourself enthused because what I'm about to show you WORKS! And let's begin completing the following exercise step by step:
STEP 1: The first thing you MUST do is understand that it's imperative that you train your brain so you can train your body. A weak mind will equal a weak body, but a strong mind will build a healthy, lean, and vibrant body. Once you understand this first principle you are well on your way to re-engineering the way you look and feel, forever!
STEP 2: Everyday--and I literally mean EVERY day--you must write out your goals onto a piece of paper, such as "I want to lose four inches off my waist." If you have several goals, you must commit ALL of them to paper on a daily basis. Something biologically magical happens when the brain can generate a thought and have it record onto paper.
STEP 3: Everyday, after you write your goals down, you MUST read them out loud. Again, there's a phenomenon that occurs when you profess what you're wanting. Simply hoping to achieve a goal has no stimulating power. Stand up, assume the role of your own coach, and say aloud with conviction, "I am exercising to lose all this fat off my gut, and you know what, I'm making progress every day!"
STEP 4: How WILLING are you? Write out two lists; (1) itemize all of the things you need "to do" to obtain your goals, and (2) list all of the things you must "avoid." For example, "I need to take advantage of my health club membership," "I need to walk every morning," "need to cut out sugar."
STEP 5: Make a date with yourself: Treat yourself every week to one meal of your choice. Follow your fitness program as strictly as you can all week, then, let's say, on Saturday night, eat anything you want.
STEP 6: Seek wise advice from a personal trainer or other health/fitness authority who can assess your current status and guide you throughout your re-engineering process. If you cannot locate one, call the local health club for referrals.
STEP 7: Don't get discouraged. Everybody, even the pros, slip off track at times. As long as you become steadfast, always getting yourself back on track after being derailed, pat yourself on the back, lift your chin, and re-GO For IT all over again.
Remember that investing in your own health and fitness is investing in yourself, and pays huge dividends down the road. Put it in your head first, then watch your body mold into the image of your thoughts. I'm eager to learn of your progress!
This material is used with the permission of the American Holistic Health Association (AHMA).
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