Anagnostou Paraskevi -Holistic Therapist, Thessaloniki
Since the dawn of time, humans have sought in Nature the answer to several of their troubles, particularly these related to their health. Eventually, they developed a primeval therapeutic system by observing and recording different reactions of the elements of Nature as well as the magical impact that air, fire and sun had on their bodies and souls. This therapeutic system mainly consisted of herbs, specific foods and several types of massage. In the course of time, this system adopted different elements from place to place, according to the cultural context that developed there. But, all over the world, one fundamental component prevailed: the correlation of the body to the spirit.
- In ancient Greece, Hippocratic healing methods involved natural foods, exercise, herbs, meditation, fasting and enemas.
- In China, the Traditional Chinese Medicine therapists employed herbs, massage, needles, special exercises and diet. It should be noted that the Chinese were the first to study and systematize the correlation between the body, the energy (called Qi) and the mind.
- In India, the Ayurveda’s system of health comprised herbs, exercises, massage and nutrition.
- In America, native Indians had similar therapeutic techniques as well as indigenous populations of Africa.
What is most intriguing with regard to the above-mentioned different therapeutic systems is that they all shared certain core elements:
- they all used natural means to heal
- they all aimed at the detoxification of the body so as to facilitate self-healing
- they all addressed all parts of the individual, not just the physical aspect of a person where manifested illnesses were most apparent.
Over the years, the scientific evolution has brought to light new information about the human body and its systems. The development of medicine has been linked to the achievements in the realms of physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. The advent of the microscope, as well as that of computers and a host of other sophisticated machines with multiple applications, has revolutionized science.
Diseases, previously perceived as fatal, have been successfully treated by means of chemical-drugs, radiation, surgery i.e. the arsenal of modern medicine. The average life expectancy has grown. Yet, unfortunately, new powerful diseases have made their appearance, perpetuating human suffering. For the last few centuries, the predominant project in modern medicine has been to break matter down into ever smaller bits, in the pursuit of understanding, and this works only to some extent. As a result, we have completely lost touch with the main principle of traditional medicine:
"The man is body-energy-mind and soul, and when one part of them suffers, they all suffer to some degree".
The 21th century, therefore, finds us facing a multitude of complex and multi-faceted medical problems reflecting the complex and multi-faceted composition of human nature, which, desperate from isolation, is trying to impose itself in a pernicious way. It’s high time we put things back together through a more integrated and holistic approach in order to redress the balance.
The term holistic, coined by Jan Christian Smuts-1926 declares that:
"Living beings are larger and different entities from the sum of their parts"
Thus, Holistic Therapy focuses on the whole person, not just the malady itself. The holistic healer takes into consideration all of a person’s circumstances in giving treatment as she believes that illness is not the symptom, but the reason that lies behind it. Bearing in mind the complex interaction among the physical, mental and energy profile of a person, she strives for balance of the physical healing, the mental health and the emotional wellness her clients, addressing all three aspects of their existence. Perceiving the patient as a person rather than a disease, she strongly believes that all people have innate healing powers, sometimes very well hidden.
Hence, in the quest for her clients’ optimal health and wellness, she tries to:
- facilitate their self-healing mechanism not just by alleviating the symptoms but by fixing the course of the condition through all theways-techniques at her disposal
- train her clients to regain the control of their own body and health.
Above all, a holistic therapist, through good intention and an open mind, endeavours to perceive the individuality of every human being, so that she may use her knowledge in the best interest of her clients, enabling the latter to fulfill their potential; she seeks to accommodate their venturing on an ongoing journey of self-discovery so that they, ultimately, live better, are healthier and strive for wholeness.