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What Does "Holistic" Mean?

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

By Elizabeth (Betty) Nolan, Earth Spirit Wellness Inc.

To a naturopathic practitioner, holistic means considering the whole person who is experiencing symptoms that are making them feel unwell.

For example, an individual visits with migraine headaches. The migraines and associated feelings are the symptoms, but the root cause of that person’s terrible pain goes much deeper. Of course, in the first place we want to alleviate the pain, but we also want to know what’s causing the migraines so that we can make them stop.

That’s where the word holistic comes into play. The whole person needs to be considered: the person’s body, mind, emotions, diet, lifestyle, relationship to themself, to their work and family, and to the world. The naturopathic practitioner and the individual will consider all body systems and how they are working in relation to one another. The practitioner and the individual may discuss

  • the health of the skin, hair, and nails

  • how the individual feels about changing ingrained habits in an effort to improve health

  • how the person views nature and if they spend any time outside

  • the type of dental fillings, number of vaccinations, any injuries or surgeries

  • how many colds and flus the person has had, the severity of those colds and flus, and the length of recovery time

  • diet and dietary habits and incorporating real fresh food into their daily life, for cell rejuvenation and growth

  • how the person feels from day to day: are there any twinges in the back, any tiredness, heaviness, pain and stiffness, confusion, or foggy thinking?

  • how the person responds to stress and the degree of stress currently being experienced

  • body temperature and how the person feels about the temperature and quality of the air in their environment, especially in their home and workplace

  • the use of stimulants such as coffee, tea, alcohol, and drugs

  • the degree of use of electronic equipment and where the person lives in relation to high voltage power lines

In an attempt to figure out what is causing the migraines, all the above questions (and sometimes more) are necessary in order to take a holistic view of the person who is interested in being migraine-free.

During a consultation, we often discover that the person who is consulting for migraines also has other ailments, such as eczema, but has been living with those other conditions for such a long time that they no longer consider it much of a problem. They’ve just learned to manage it. However, with a holistic approach, the eczema problem may well be treated at the same time as the migraines. Sometimes, just a few small changes are necessary to solve the problem. At other times, it may take a while for the individual to make the necessary changes one small step at a time toward the goal of eventually being migraine-free.

Taking a holistic approach to health pays off in a big way because it helps us look beyond symptoms to find lasting solutions.


Elizabeth (Betty) Nolan,

Betty is a naturopathic practitioner who also practices Reiki, BioScanSRT, and Raindrop Technique. She owns and operates Earth Spirit Wellness Inc., located at The Commons, Villa Nova Plaza, in Conception Bay South, where she helps her clients achieve their best health and wellness. When she’s not helping her clients or studying, you can find her spending time outdoors with her sheltie, Rosie.

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