Sunday, June 21, 2009

Holistic Treatment

Because holistic wellness views illness as stemming from an imbalance between different areas of life, holistic treatment focuses on the whole person and not just on the body. Consequently, a wide variety of holistic practitioners can be used. These may include physicians as well as holistic practitioners in areas such as ayuveda, naturopathy, homeopathy, massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, nutrition, and neurolinguistic programming.

These holistic practitioners do not heal people, but rather help patients to heal themselves. All healing is self-healing. Bodies are built to be self-regulating and when in balance are capable of healing wounds, broken bones, infections, diseases and even cancer. Being out of balance makes the body prone to disease and prevents it from healing diseases in their early stages.

Holistic practitioners will often speak of dis-ease in the body in order to emphasize the loss of the natural state of ease that results from imbalance, and to de-emphasize the particular physical or mental disorder the client may have.

Your choice of holistic practitioners will likely depend on where you are experiencing the most difficulty in your life. If you have an acute or chronic disease you will certainly need a primary care physician. While naturopathic physicians may be able to oversee much of your care, in most countries only medical doctors can refer you to services or to others within the medical sector. If you can find a holistic medical doctor so much the better.

You should have a team of holistic practitioners, which may change as you do. Practitioners may work on specific wellness dimensions or be more global, but because the parts of your whole person are interconnected, an intervention in one dimension will have an effect in all the other dimensions. So theoretically you can start in any dimension.

In her excellent book Getting Whole, Getting Well: Healing Holistically from Chronic Illness Dr. Iris Bell presents a table of the levels of holistic care that lists the level of care options, the different holistic treatment options available in this level, and the world view assumptions that the care at each level is based on. I have listed the levels of care and beside each have put the types of holistic treatment options that Dr. Bell sees as appropriate within this level. (My additions are added in brackets at the end of each list of types).

Note that these levels of care do not all align with the wellness dimensions.

Biochemical Biological Care Level: Drugs, nutrients, botanicals, herbal medicines

Preventive Foundations Level: Exercise, diet and sleep (posture, breathing/breathwork).

Structural Manual Manipulation Level: Osteopathy, chiropractic, massage, (rolfing, postural reconstruction physiotherapy).

Mind-Body Level: Meditation, biofeedback, yoga, guided imagery, journaling (hypnotherapy, neuro-linguistic programming, psychotherapy).

Subtle Energy Level: Therapeutic touch, healing touch, reiki, johrei, qi gong (cranio-sacral therapy, tai chi, pranic healing).

Constitutional Level: homeopathy, traditional chinese medicine, acupuncture, ayuveda (accupressure).

Spiritual Level: Intention, prayer (spiritual instruction, participation in a spiritual community).

Dr. Bell suggests starting with a healing intention, and then choosing which interventions to start with. This will be covered in the next posts.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Coach Yourself to Success

Now that you have completed the wellness health assessments (congratulations to those who managed to get through them) it’s time to choose what you want to change first. If you have a physical problem you may want to start there, or you may decide to start in another holistic wellness dimension where you have more pain. Another way would be to choose something that is easy to change so you can see quick results.

Another decision will be whether you need help from a holistic practitioner. Even with professional guidance you will essentially be changing yourself so learning how to do that is a good way to start. Here are six steps you can use to coach yourself to success in any holistic wellness dimension

Step 1: Know What You Want

When you coach yourself to success you have to know what success is so you’ll know when you’ve reached it. Decide what you want to change first and what the end result will look like after the change.

If you are not sure what you want instead of the current situation, look at the opposite of what you don’t want. If you don’t want to weigh 200 pounds, how much do you want to weigh?

Step 2: Choose One Thing to Change

It’s important to take baby steps as you coach yourself to success. Initially choose one small thing to change. You are more likely to be successful and this will give you confidence and motivate you to continue.

Step 3: Set a Goal

To coach yourself to success, you must know what you want and keep the focus there, rather than on what you don’t want. Goals focus you on the end result and keep you moving in the right direction.

Your overall goal is holistic wellness, but getting there will require many smaller specific goals. Start by setting a goal for the one thing you are going to change first.

Your goal should be SMART – specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and timely. For example, ‘I will weigh 120 pounds by September 1st 2009’ meets these criteria, provided it would be possible to achieve that weight by then.

Step 4: Take Action in Small Steps

Choose one action that will move you towards the goal, and raise your satisfaction level in the chosen holistic wellness dimension by just one point. Choosing an action that you can repeat for 21 to 30 days will develop a habit. Habits make actions effortless.

Step 5: Set Up Structures

In coaching, a structure is any device that reminds the client of their vision, goals, or actions that must be taken on a regular basis. Structures that remind you to take action might be: entries in your daily agenda; pop-ups or calendar reminders on your computer; messages you send yourself on voicemail or by e-mail, or putting your running shoes by the bed where they will remind you to go for a run before breakfast.

When coaching yourself to success, be sure to set up structures that will keep you acting until habit kicks in.

Step 6: Evaluate Regularly

Once a week hold a coach yourself to success meeting with yourself. Celebrate your successes in carrying out the planned actions or meeting your goal and decide what you will do in the week to come.

Do not beat yourself up if you were not successful.– instead find out what went wrong. Ask yourself questions like: What got in the way of me doing what I had planned? How will I do it differently next week? Be curious and gentle with yourself – commitment to holistic wellness requires you to become your own best friend. Set yourself a goal for the coming week that you think you can meet.

Keep going through the steps until you achieve your goals. Achieving holistic wellness may be a life-long process, but coaching yourself to successful change will become second-nature after a while.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Physical Wellness Health Assessment: Part 2 - Nutrition, Hydration and Supplements

Do you eat a healthy balanced diet? A wellness nutrition health assessment evaluates your nutrition in terms of the balance of the micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) and macronutrients(carbohydrate, proteins and fats); whether you eat acid or alkaline foods, the nutritional value of the foods you eat, and whether you eat frequently enough to maintain stable insulin and blood sugar levels. It also identifies substances in your diet that are harmful to health. A healthy balanced diet is based on natural whole foods
In answering the following questions, you can either use your gut-feelings to come up with your answer, or click on the links to the calculators if you want to be more exact.

1. Are you markedly under or over-weight?

2. Is your daily caloric intake adequate, but not excessive for your body type and lifestyle?

3. Is your diet balanced between 40 to 60 percent of calories from carbohydrates, 15 to 20 percent from protein, and 20 to 30 percent from fat?

Carbohydrates and protein contain four calories per gram and fat contains nine calories per gram Find gram equivalents of the caloric percentages above – enter the number of calories you need from the calculation in question 2 and use the moderate ratio.

4. Do uou have an alkaline diet?
At least 75% by weight of your diet come from food that becomes alkaline in the body? You will need adobe acrobat to view this file. Download it free here.

5. Do you eat fast food, processed food or junk food less than twice a week?

Unnatural foods make thr body acid, which can cause disease. Most of your diet should come from natural whole foods. Unlike processed foods, natural whole foods contain needed vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) in correct proportions for your body’s needs. For a healthy alkaline diet, the majority of your food should be vegetables and fruits, with some whole (unpolished) grains and naturally raised meats, fish or vegetable protein.

6. Do you maintain stable blood sugar and insulin levels by eating 3 small meals and two nutritious snacks a day?

1. Do you drink 8 -10 glasses of fluid per day excluding alcohol?

Optimum fluid intake varies by body weight, and a certain amount of fluid comes from food. A study that looked at the difference between males who drank 64 ounces of water or water plus a variety of beverages (including water, coffee, juice, and carbonated soft drinks) found no difference in blood and urine constituents regardless of the type of beverage, but all lost weight during the day, which indicates that 8 glasses of fluid may not be enough to maintain hydration.

When choosing fluids, bear in mind that coffee and soft drinks are acidic in the body and will acidify the body, contribute to calcium loss from the bones and to inflammation which leads to disease. Soft drinks also contain sugar or sugar substitutes which also contribute to body acidity.

1. Do you take a good quality multivitamin daily?
2. Do you either eat oily fish at least three times a week or take an Omega-3 supplement (fish oli, flax oil, ground flax seeds or other) daily?
3, Do you either spend an hour in the sun without sunscreen daily or take a Vitamin D3 supplement?

Score each section in the physical wellness assessment by taking the number of yes answers and expressing them as a percentage of the total number of questions. Then put a line at the level representing that percentage in the appropriate section of the physical wellness wheel – see how to do a wellness health assessment..




Sunday, June 7, 2009

Physical Wellness Health Assessment: Part I - Exercise, Rest, and Health Habits

To a do physical wellness health assessment of the body you will look at the areas of exercise, rest, health habits, hydration, nutrition and supplements and identify where and how you need to make changes.

Because there are several sub-domains involved in this domain, this physical wellness health assessment may require a wellness wheel of its own. Use the previous instructions to draw a physical wellness assessment wheel with six sections either on the back of the wellness health assessment wheel you already made, or use a separate piece of paper or page in your wellness journal.

Label the physical wellness health assessment sub-domains: exercise, rest, health habits, nutrition, hydration and supplements.


  1. Do you get at least 30 minutes of exercise per day through walking or other means?
  2. Do you get 30 – 60 minutes of aerobic exercise at least three times a week.
  3. Do you get regular exercise (yoga, tai chi. pilates) that develops strength, flexibility and balance?

Rest and Relaxation:

  1. Do you get at least 8 hours of sleep per night?
  2. Do you get to bed by 10pm?
  3. Do you meditate or practice some form of deep relaxation that reduces stress?
  4. Do you have a hobby or pastime that you engage in frequently?

Health Habits:

  1. Do you always wear a seat belt when in the car?
  2. Do you always protect your brain by wearing a helmet in activities such as biking or skiing?
  3. Do you floss your teeth daily?
  4. Do you drink no more than seven alcoholic drinks per week, or three drinks per occasion (women) or 14 drinks per week or four drinks per occasion (men)?
  5. Are you a non-smoker?
  6. Do you practice safe sex?

Nutrition, hydration and supplements will be covered in the next post

Score each section in the physical wellness assessment by taking the number of yes answers and expressing them as a percentage of the total number of questions. Then put a line at the level representing that percentage in the appropriate section of the physical wellness wheel – see how to do a wellness health assessment..

Friday, June 5, 2009

Environmental Wellness Health Assessment

Where and how you live has a big environmental impact on wellness. Environmental wellness is both the effect that your surroundings have on your health and wellbeing and the steps that you take to protect your environment. Your home and work environments should sustain and nourish you and provide the opportunity to live a healthy life. In turn, your actions should sustain the health of your environment; both the natural environment and your workplace, home and possessions.

We are part of the natural world and so need to interact with it in order to be whole. If you are physically able, get out and walk in the elements and natural surroundings at least daily. If you are housebound then try to bring nature to you through houseplants, a natural view from your window, or sitting in the open air for a while.

Many other things have an environmental impact on wellness. Clutter or broken or malfunctioning objects drain your energy, as do noisy or polluted environments, or unfriendly relationships with neighbours.

You can decrease your impact on the environment by reducing the number of items you buy or use, reusing things for a similar or different purpose, and selling, giving away or recycling what you cannot use.

Some question to ask when doing your environmental wellness health assessment are:

1. Do you like your home and the surrounding area and community?
2. Do you interact with the natural world every day?
3. Do you know your neighbours and have cordial relations with them?
4. Is your living-space neat and well-ordered with no broken or malfunctioning items?
5. Do you reduce, reuse and recycle?
6. Do you conserve water and protect the groundwater from pollution by using non-toxic biodegradable cleaning agents, compost rather than fertilizers, natural pest control, and other methods.

Score your environmental wellness health assessment by taking the number of yes answers and expressing them as a percentage of the total number of questions. Then put a line at the level representing that percentage in the environmental section of the wellness wheel – see how to do a wellness health assessment.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Vocational Wellness Health Assessment

Vocational wellness is similar to occupational wellness but more inclusive. A vocation is a calling, something that expresses who you are, which a job may not do, Vocation encompasses interests, hobbies, and volunteer work, as well as occupation, but more important is the tie between vocation and personal values.

In the Vocational Wellness Health Assessment you look at your personal values and how they are expressed in what you do. Some things you do may fit your abilities, but may not fit your personal values. Wellness, and happiness, increases when vocation and personal values are congruent.

To identify your personal values think first of a moment (a few hours at most) in your life when you felt completely fulfilled. What was it about that time that was so important? Probably one or more personal values were being expressed. Try and identify them. Then think of something that someone does that really annoys you. Probably one or more of your personal value is not being honoured. Can you identify them?

Some question to ask when doing your vocational wellness health assessment are:

  1. What are you top five personal values in order of importance?
  2. Where in your life are you expressing your personal values?
  3. Is there one or more areas in your life where your values are dishonoured?
  4. Is there a balance between work and other areas of your life?
  5. Do you feel happy, creative and innovative in your current life?
  6. Overall, do your interests, hobbies, job, and volunteer work (vocation) and personal values appear to be congruent?

Scoring the vocational wellness health assessment will be somewhat different than for the previous wellness health assessments. The answer to question six will tell you where you are, between a score of zero to 10, on the fit between vocation and personal values. Enter this score as a dotted line on the vocational segment of the vocational wellness wheel. See how to do a wellness health assessment for an example

Social Wellness Health Assessment

Social wellness is the ability to connect with others and to build supportive, nurturing meaningful relationships that enhance the quality of life for all involved. It also includes making a contribution to society in some way.

The social wellness health assessment questions below reflect the skills needed to foster a relationship in which both parties feel safe and heard. Because conflict is part of the relationship territory, developing relationship management and conflict resolution skills is essential.

1. Do you have more than one relationship that is mutually supportive and nurturing?
2. Can you accept the other for who they are?
3. Can you set boundaries that clearly identify what you need in a relationship?
4. Do you focus on the positive qualities of the other person rather than on the qualities that you don‘t like?
5. Is giving and taking about equal within the relationship?
6. Do you frequently appreciate and thank the other for what they do?
7. When there is conflict can you state your side and listen to and acknowledge the other’s point of view?
8. Do you give some time to helping others or contributing to society in some way?

Score the social wellness health assessment by taking the number of yes answers and expressing them as a percentage of the total number of questions. Then put a line at the level representing that percentage in the social section of the wellness wheel – see how to do a wellness health assessment for an example.

If you want to make a start on developing or improving your relationship management and conflict resolution skills, this site is a useful resource