As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the world, all eyes on are the healthcare industry. Holistic health plans are more important than ever in these changing times, yet the process may be misunderstood, and may not always be properly defined. So what is holistic healthcare? It’s an integrated, comprehensive form of healthcare that involves the whole body, and also centers on the beliefs of the patient.
Within the field of holistic health, spirituality plays a key role in the healing process. And the spiritual process can vary significantly between patients. For some of us, spirituality involves a type of organized religion, while others find spiritual solace in natural spaces or via the practice of meditation.
Spirituality is so integral to personal well-being, in fact, that it’s easy to see why true holistic health is impossible without it. By working to ensure your own spiritual self-care, you may see improvements in your overall health and wellbeing. In addition, healthcare providers can make sure to include spirituality as an integral part of patient-centered healthcare plans.
The Role of Spirituality in Public Health
When it comes down to it, spirituality allows us to cultivate hope, no matter the circumstances. And that’s just one reason why spirituality is a critical part of holistic health. According to a study published on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “the healing of a patient must include more than the biology and chemistry of their physical body; by necessity, it must include the mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects.”
In many cases, the patient is the best person to determine his or her personal route to holistic health. What’s more, spirituality is highly individualized, and freedom of choice may offer the best pathway towards success in this regard.
Fortunately, there are numerous ways of integrating individual belief systems into patient-centered healthcare (PCC) plans. The roots of PCC stretch back to the 1950s, but the method has only come into its own in the 21st century. Today’s nurses and healthcare providers better understand the ways in which spirituality can help patients make crucial medical decisions and reduce stress levels.
It’s important to note that PCC is especially beneficial at the community level, where it helps fuel improved public health. Just as there is strength in numbers in regards to spiritual communities (such as church congregations), the same is true in the realm of holistic health. The more community members find healing via the whole-body approach, the greater the health of the entire community.
The Principles of Holistic Health
Spirituality cannot work alone, however; it is just one of the six aspects of holistic health. According to the American Holistic Health Association (AHHA), optimal health is “the conscious pursuit of the highest qualities of the physical, environmental, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of the human experience.” These are the principles of holistic medicine, and they all must work together to achieve desired results and true healing.
For those of us living with a chronic health condition, holistic healing may seem like a tall order. Yet holistic healing isn’t a journey that you have to take on alone. Just as your healthcare providers may serve as a guide towards physical healing, others in your life may have other roles to play, such as your spiritual advisor or mental health counselor. Of course, the concept of spirituality can be difficult for many people, especially if you’re not a religious person. If you’re having trouble with the spiritual health aspect of your healing journey, you may want to get creative. Consider the cognitive and spiritual benefits of nature, for instance.
Finding Spiritual Awareness in the Great Outdoors
Humans have been fascinated by the natural world since the early days of humanity. Nature serves as the basis of numerous myths and stories from around the world. In Roman mythology, Bacchus was the god of nature as well as that of wine and festivities. He had a variety of counterparts in ancient tales from across the world.
In modern times, we don’t necessarily believe that deities are responsible for the wonders of nature. Yet, for many of us, natural spaces serve as a sort of outdoor house of worship. Nature can be experienced on its own, or mingled with existing spiritual practice, such as meditation or yoga nidra, for an enhanced calming effect.
Being outside also helps to increase your creativity and reduces stress levels. Health professionals have also found that spending regular time in nature may lower your risk of disease. In this way, we can see the ways in which the mind and body are truly connected by spirituality and the exposure to natural spaces.
As the practice of holistic healing continues to grow in popularity around the world, we are seeing a number of changes to the healthcare industry. Holistic, integrated healthcare is increasingly patient-centered, and spirituality plays a major role in the process.