The word holistic comes from wholistic or “whole” and essentially represents the acknowledgment of the Mind/Body/Spirit connection.
There are also modalities and therapies that are sometimes referred to as Alternative or Holistic. Alternative therapy isn’t necessarily holistic but it can be, given the practitioner.
On the other hand, some therapies are listed under the umbrella definition of “holistic,” using the word holistic as a category, but the practitioner may not have the background or ability to utilize the mind/body/spirit concept.
Here are some things that might be listed as either alternative or holistic: massage therapy, yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathic, homeopathy, herbal, nutrition, essential oils, holistic counseling, coaching or certain addiction rehab, bodywork, Reiki, colon therapy, metabolic, orthomolecular, breath work and more.
For me, my major focus is chemical-free food and products and an environment safe for breathing because I have a condition. When the manufacturers care about me as a whole person it is a bonus. All essential oils, for example, do not have holistic roots. Some of the oils are fast-processed with heat which depletes the beneficial properties. Some manufacturers lack ethics and may label lavandin as lavender (they do different things). It’s Let the Buyer Beware. Look for Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils to be safe.
For others, their main focus is bodywork, yoga, breath work and related disciplines. If a person knows advanced yoga techniques can we assume they are holistic? Not always. Yoga does have a mind, body, spirit reputation but if you just take a local yoga class, the focus may be more on just the bodywork.
I once went to a chiropractor who worked in a clinic referred to as “holistic” and unfortunately assumed that this person would take into account my whole person, but no such luck. For them, holistic meant there was also acupuncture available!
It depends what you’re looking for. If you want a darn good chiropractic adjustment maybe you can overlook that the doctor doesn’t understand some of your other problems even if they think they are “holistic.”
There are a variety of types of holistic therapists who encompass the mind/body/spirit principle. They identify themselves as holistic. However, they may know little about other holistic disciplines. They may or may not practice yoga, know anything about Reiki or hypnotherapy. No matter. If they make you feel whole and comfortable and you make progress or feel better, you can’t go wrong with a caring, ethical therapist.
There are counselors and coaches that address career, personal, health, life, nutrition and more.
Some are great and some are new and inexperienced (we all have to learn somehow) but if you run into a practitioner who exhibits unrealistic expectations regarding your limitations or is judgmental or harsh about how others define holism for themselves, just don’t go back.
A skilled hypnotherapist doesn’t have to be holistic to help people quit smoking. I once had a past life regression for the heck of it. The fellow operated out of his home. There was even a recording of the session. On the recording you could hear the therapist walk to the kitchen, open the cupboard and prepare food for his cat. Later, you could hear his land line ring and him answer the phone and have a conversation on my dime. I was distracted and felt my “past life” was something he got me to make up. I have since pitched the recording of the session
I continue to search for good answers as I go. Right now I have a good acupuncturist who doesn’t hang out a holistic shingle but she fosters a great mind/body/spirit connection. There are differences between acupuncturists and also conditions we have and how they respond but my current treatment seems to be effective.
So am I holistic? To a good extent, more or less. I’m careful about what food and products are best for me and the air I breathe as well as my carbon footprint. Is that holistic or green living? They can be synonymous. It may not be your holistic or their holistic but I’m doing what’s right for me and feeling a bit more whole.