While you’re undoubtedly familiar with the term ‘holistic health’, many of us struggle to fully understand its definition. As the first digital holistic health studio, we’ve rigorously explored what this term means to us at WellSet and how we can help people apply it to their everyday wellbeing.
Put simply, holistic health is whole-system health and balance.
As humans, we are more than the sum of our parts. We tend to think of our physical body and its various systems (cardiac, lymphatic, respiratory, digestive, nervous, muscular, etc.) as independent elements that can impact our overall health. Scientific disciplines have been largely siloed and specialized in Western medicine. But we know that our body's systems are linked and communicate with each other at the cellular level; these systems are deeply interconnected.
Holistic health goes beyond the physical body to consider how our thoughts, emotions, and even our sense of purpose collectively impact our health and wellbeing as a whole. Holistic health reflects the interactions we have with our environments, our inner thoughts and belief systems, the foods we eat, our physical environments, and our social relationships. It encompasses the fullness and wholeness of who we are.
According to this systemic review of randomized controlled trials on holistic wellbeing, the definition of holistic health is “a state of internal balance, not just an absence of illness, and emphasizes the importance of the connection of the mind, body, and spirit.” This balance is related to how we connect to the systems both within and around us.
Getting to the root
The word ‘holistic’ originates from the Greek word holos, or whole. Holistic health looks at the whole individual across mind, body, and spirit.
Holistic health goes beyond treating physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, and aims to uncover and address the root cause of an issue—whether that’s anxiety, back pain, digestive discomfort or insomnia. When we understand the root of an issue, we are empowered to make lifestyle changes that may help prevent further emotional challenges or physical disease. Wherever you find yourself today, holistic health teaches us that we can move towards balance and health in the body.
Emotional health is a crucial building block of overall health. According to an article in the British Medical Journal, “Several epidemiological studies have shown that social and emotional support can protect against premature mortality, prevent illness, and aid recovery. It is plausible that these could act by reducing emotional distress.” Our emotional and physical health are perhaps more integrated than we know.
These concepts are not new. Many Eastern traditions have viewed human health in terms of interconnected systems for millennia—and there's a lot to learn from their wisdom. For example, yoga is an ancient Indian practice to bring harmony between the body and mind and includes moving physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. Ayurveda is the sister science to yoga and focuses on whole-system healing based on intrinsic causes. Traditional Chinese Medicine practices such as Acupuncture, Acupressure, Gua Sha, and Cupping are used to prevent and treat disease. What these unique and ancient practices have in common is that they aim to treat the whole person, not just symptoms of disease, and address the root cause of the illness.
In recent decades, Western science has started to study and recognize the many health benefits of these ancient healing practices. There are already hundreds of studies that examine their efficacy—here's just one summary of the benefits of yoga. We expect to see more and more research published in the coming years that will suggest these healing modalities may impact everything from mental health challenges to physical diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease and more.
How WellSet delivers holistic health
We believe any practice that reduces stress increases health. And we recognize the role that emotional health plays in overall health and wellbeing. Decreasing stress levels through movement and mindfulness practices help the mind and body move towards balance, which unlocks rest and repair functions in the body.
WellSet classes are designed to address common symptoms, including stress, pain, overwhelm, fatigue, insomnia, digestive issues and many more. Beyond the symptoms, our focus is on positive outcomes like creating a sense of ease, health, balance, and happiness. WellSet offers holistic health classes in mindfulness, movement, nutrition, and holistic education in over 20 science-backed modalities and practices. We invite you to drop in to feel better.
Get ready to meet our new platform next month, launching July 2022!