Natural Health, Holistic Health Definitions


As more and more reports come out about the state of our health and the safety of our health care system people are looking for different options on how to stay or get healthy. This has led to a booming “natural health” industry. What are all these terms though, naturopath, homeopathic, allopathy, herblist, aromatheraphy and holistic. These are all words that you will see if you start looking into natural health, but the amount of information available can be overwhelming.

So let’s break down all these terms to help you determine which may be the best for you. We will start with a naturopath. This is someone that has adopted a philosophy that encompasses the whole life. A naturopath will encourage a health care approach that takes all aspects of life into consideration health, spiritual, mental and so on.

Homeopathic or homeopathy is a school of healing that uses very dilute natural “medicines” of a disease that will help cure that same disease. An example of a homeopathic medicine would be belladonna, this is a perennial shrub that has toxic properties, but in the right preparation can have healing properties. The concept is loosely based on the theory that “like cures like”. This concept is similar to a flu shot where we are introducing the flu to our system so that our immune system knows how to fight the disease.

Allopathic is a term that until I researched this article even I was using incorrectly. Many people have used this term to distinguish regular medical practice from homeopathic concepts. It is actual a system of treating disease by inducing a pathological reaction that is antagonistic to the disease being treated. The above example of a flu shot would be a true example of allopathic medicine.

An herbalist or herbology is the concept of using herbs to promote healing. Drinking teas that are made from a specific herb or flower can help to improve a particular health concern. Also, utilizing specific herbs such as garlic and onions during cold season is also a form of herbology.

Aromatherapy is a concept that is definitely heating up in the market. There are several multi-level marketing companies that have become popular selling essential oils. Aromatherapy is the use of fragrant oils in baths, as inhalants, or during massage to relieve stress and treat skin conditions. Essential oils are a highly concentrated portion of plants and should be used with caution because they can be harmful if used improperly and should never be used internally unless working with a trained aromatherapist or medical professional.

Holistic is the last term I will define. Holistic health is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account the mental and social factors not just the physical symptoms of a disease. When you take the time to look into these different modalities of health you will discover that they are all a part of holistic health.

I am grateful that I live in a country with good health care, including all the immunizations that we are offered. I also think that it is important that we take responsibility for the quality of our life. I have chosen to use many of these concepts including herbology and aromatherapy to help maintain the health of my family. Eating a diet of natural foods (not processed) is always the best way to improve your health, but these are great ways to enhance your life as well. Take a moment to look into them and discover what is right for you.

Marijuana – Yes or No

Today I am writing about marijuana and the ongoing debate in our country about its use for medical purposes or personal enjoyment. I would imagine that some of my readers would assume that because I study natural medicine and use many herbs and aromatherapy to keep myself and family healthy that I would be a supporter of legalizing marijuana. This question is one that plagues me on a daily basis though. I am definitely in support of using a plant for the positive medicinal qualities that it may have, but when it comes to using it for recreation I do not see the need, but how do you separate the two.

Over the last several years there have been many reports about marijuana being addictive or a gateway drug. Having never tried marijuana or tobacco for that matter I can’t speak to the addictiveness of either of these substances. I recently read that marijuana use leads to dependence about 9-10% of the time, while tobacco is the highest at 30%. The child of two lifelong tobacco smokers I have witnessed firsthand the challenge of trying to stop and unfortunately neither of my parents have succeeded yet. When it comes to marijuana use I become very confused about the true affects it has on the body and why with all the legal ramifications would someone continue to use it if they aren’t addicted. Unfortunately I have seen people that continue to get arrested for possession of marijuana or paraphernalia and face fines yet they still use. If this drug is not addictive then what affect does it have that becomes more appealing then freedom? Why do people risk both personal and financial freedom to keep using marijuana?

I have tended to stay on the right side of the law in the choices I make. I will admit that I drank while underage once and the experience was so unpleasant that I didn’t drink again until I was 25. Now I drink the occasional beer or glass of wine, but I did experience a short period in my life where I started to binge drink to avoid things that were upsetting me. For me this became a turning point, I could either keep drinking and getting hangovers and generally feeling like crap or I could face what was going on in my life and make changes. This is how I feel about recreational marijuana use. If we legalize it are we giving people another substance to use to hide from problems?

In our current society we have so many prescription drugs that are being used to treat countless numbers of physical and psychological problems do we really need one more or maybe marijuana would help us to get rid of some of the synthetic drugs. In conclusion I will say that for medicinal purposes I would support the use of marijuana, but for states like Colorado and Washington that are allowing it for recreational use I am scared. I think that people really need to just slow down, enjoy nature and each other and they may find that they don’t need drugs, alcohol or nicotine to enjoy themselves. The debate is definitely complex and one that I believe will continue on for years. What are your thoughts?