Many of us look to embrace the fresh start of a crisp New Year by implementing changes that bring more balance into our life. A holistic lifestyle offers us ongoing opportunity for balance and self-improvement. While holistic or Integrative health can mean different things, there are certain practices I consider to be essential seeds to help an individual’s holistic lifestyle blossom. Interestingly enough, the mechanism for balance is often through our Endocannabinoid System (ECS), the system our body uses to maintain homeostasis, or balance. Planting the following four seeds in the garden of your life can sow both immediate and ongoing, long term fruits...
4 Integrative Health Practices to Bring Balance To Your Life this Year
The benefits of meditation have long been well recognized by integrative medicine practitioners and in recent decades gained considerable respect by the western community. The confirmed benefits include improved concentration, improved sleep, improved relaxation, and reduced inflammation, which in turn leads to an overall reduced risk of illness.
Equally important to our individual health is the health of our communities. Meditation has also been shown to increase one’s sense of connectedness to the people around them and the world at large, leading to increased levels of empathy and compassion, as well as a greater sense of general wellbeing.
The true definition of Yoga is “union” or “yolk”. Developed over thousands of years, it’s purpose remains to engage in practices that allow us to gain control over our minds, rather than allow our minds to control us. Yoga is an integral part of a holistic health plan for many reasons.
The westernized version of Yoga refers mostly to the poses, or asanas. These were actually developed over thousands of years by Yogis so they could tolerate sitting longer in meditation. While engaging in a Yoga practice should always be under professional guidance, anyone can manage to find a yoga practice to fit their unique needs. It has been proven, not only to increase strength and flexibility, but also to improve mental function and reduce stress. Those who regularly practice yoga also benefit from increased relaxation and decreased inflammation and illness.
Nothing is more balanced than nature. A staple of plant medicine is a plant-based diet: a diet focused on fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains as the basis of your meals and snacks, consuming them as close to their original form as possible. That means eating them as fresh as possible with minimal processing before consumption. Foods that have been highly processed are one of the top contributors of our modern chronic illnesses. If you choose to consume meat, I recommend eating it sparingly, or in small portions, and only consuming high quality meats that are free of antibiotics and hormones (preferably locally sourced)
By maintaining a diet that’s primarily plant-based, we get the most bang for our buck as far as nutrition is concerned. Plant-based diets have consistently been proven to improve health while reducing inflammation and disease, making them the basis for any holistic health plan.
Herbs and Herbal Medicine
Herbs are another essential component of plant medicine and should be incorporated into a healthy diet as much as possible. Many herbs, including cannabis, have powerful compounds, such as terpenes, that offer tremendous health benefits and balance our ECS. They are nutrient and anti-oxidant powerhouses that can help make you feel like your best self, and are also delicious and can help round out any meal.
Whether you’re drinking holy basil tea or adding mint to your salad, herbs pack a punch of flavor, as well as nutrition, that should be included in every healthful diet. If you are eating your herbs, you should eat them as fresh as possible. Dried herbs are better than none, but fresh is ideal.
You can also consume herbs in the form of a tincture or capsule. And certain herbs, such as cannabis, can be vaporized for quicker effects. Obviously, this all depends on the state in which you live and their own laws regulating medical marijuana.
Schedule an appointment here today if you’re ready to explore how planting the seeds of these holistic practices can improve your mind, body and spirit. We will work together using these methods, as well as many others available, to optimize your health and wellness and bring your life back to balance...
Wishing you and your loved ones a Happy, Healthy, 2018!