In our current society, the standard medicine practiced by doctors in clinics and hospitals is known as allopathic medicine. Allopathic medicine’s approach to healing is to treat an illness or disease directly at the level of the physical body. This approach ignores the fact that health issues arise due to an imbalance at other levels of an individual, and the physical illness or disease is the body’s way of communicating such an imbalance. Therefore, allopathic medicine is actually targeting the symptoms of a problem and not the problem itself, which means that the benefits of such an approach will be temporary at best.
This is not to say that allopathic medicine does not have its uses. For example, when a person goes into a severe depressive episode, it may be prudent to prescribe depression medication for that person. The medication will not cure the depression; it will simply stabilize the person emotionally in order to be able to function in society (and prevent the need for institutionalizing the individual).
In a similar respect, if a person is believed to be close to death unless surgery if performed, it would be worth considering this option. But note that – just as in the case of depression medication – the procedure does not actually correct initial cause of the health issue. Therefore, allopathic medicine is only a temporary fix for emergency situations.
In contrast, holistic medicine is based on the fact that human beings have multiple levels, and that an imbalance at any of these levels will eventually lead to health issues on the physical level. This article discusses these levels, how they become imbalanced and lead to health issues, and how holistic medicine can restore balance to heal not only the physical, but all aspects of a person, in order to create truly lasting health in an individual.
The Four Bodies
Each individual has four bodies: a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual body. For each body, there is an active component and an expressive component. The active component is what we must do in order to maintain health of that particular body. The expressive component is how this body manifests itself, and is an indication of the health of that body.
For the physical, the active component is giving your body healthy food and exercise. A healthy expression at this level is a physical body that is free of illness or disease. On the emotional level, the active component is being fully aware of (and not blocking) one’s emotions. The expressive component is a well-developed sense of intuition and a healthy level of creativity. For the mental body, the active component is a continual acquisition of knowledge; the expressive component is being able to clearly and easily express that knowledge in oral or written form. On the spiritual level, the active component is a knowing of one’s true self worth at all times regardless of one’s life situation. The active component is one of taking actions based on unconditional love, instead of actions based on the needy desires of the ego.
Note that if any of the 4 bodies is out of balance, it can negatively affect the health/expression of any other level. Also, all fours bodies must be equally balanced within oneself: if one aspect if stressed over the others, this is also not healthy. For example, it is possible to be “too spiritual” is one’s spiritual practices of meditation and diet neglect the needs of the physical body. Also note that our current society values the mental body over the emotional, which can lead to imbalances in anyone who consciously or subconsciously accepts this value as truth.
The Human Energy Field
Everything in the universe is energy, and energy is always moving. Everything that can be physically seen or touched is simply energy that is moving slowly enough that it can be seen with the human eye. The other 3 bodies are also energetic layers; they cannot (normally) be seen, but they can be felt. Anytime you are affected by someone who is angry or happy, what is happening is that you are feeling that person’s emotional energy inside your own energy field.
The energy field and physical health
In order for the physical body to remain healthy, there must be a constant, healthy flow of energy in the body’s energy field. Within the energy field are “power lines” which run throughout the physical body; these currents are known as energy meridians. The energy meridians are connected to a series of “energy centers” (aka chakras) which are located at many places throughout the body. The chakras are responsible for the healthy flow of energy into and out of the energy field.
Emotions have a big affect on our energy fields. If we continually carry hate or resentment, this will form an energy block in our system, and energy will no longer flow correctly within our bodies. Constant nervousness, stress, fear and anxiety all lead to blocks. It is important to note that any emotion that doesn’t get correctly processed will end up clogging our energy field. Even emotions that we try to “get rid of” don’t go away: if we do not allow ourselves to completely feel and release a negative emotion such as shame or guilt, our attempt to push it away will actually push it into our fields. And any negative emotions that stay in our energy fields will lead to blocks which disrupt the healthy flow of energy. After awhile, energy blocks in the energy field will lead to illness or disease in the body.
It is worth keeping in mind that illness should not be considered “bad” per se. Instead, it is simply the body’s way of communicating that something in a person’s life is out of balance and needs to be addressed. Therefore, it can be actually helpful to think of illness as the body’s attempt to have a better relationship: because its previous communications were ignored, it is simply “talking louder”.
Symbology of Illness
In order for the body to effectively communicate the imbalance, the location or type of the illness is usually symbolic. Guilt, shame or resentment that is literally “eating you up” might become symbolized in the body as cancer. If you are not getting the emotional support you expect from others, it could show up as back pain (i.e., nobody has your back). Constipation might be telling you that you are holding on to beliefs that no longer benefit you. Knee pain could suggest a lack of flexibility. Digestive issues might suggest being in a stressful situation that you cannot “stomach” or tolerate.
Thoughts and belief patterns
Just as the emotional body affects the physical, the mental affects the emotional. I.e., our thoughts directly control our emotions. For a man who was just fired from a job, the thought “I shouldn’t have been fired” will lead to anger and disappointment, while the thought “this could be a great opportunity to try something new” will lead to hope and excitement. For the woman whose boyfriend just broke up with her, the thought “he shouldn’t have left me” will lead to pain, while the thought “this can only lead to something better” will bring peace.
The differences in the way individuals think is controlled at the spiritual level via our belief systems. For the man who lost his job, the beliefs that “I can’t ever do anything right” and “life isn’t fair” will lead to fear-based thoughts. But the beliefs that “every setback is an opportunity” and “God will provide me everything I need when I need it” will lead to positive and loving thoughts. For the woman whose boyfriend left her, the beliefs that “I don’t deserve love” and “all men are jerks” will lead to negative thoughts, while the belief “I am always worthy of love regardless of my current situation” would lead to the exact opposite.
The development of belief patterns
Our belief patterns are formed in us at a very early age. Our more accurately, the belief patterns that were formed from experiences in previous lives are carried over into the current life and are re-confirmed via our early life experiences in this life. For example, it only takes one experience of not being fed promptly as a baby to trigger and confirm a child’s subconscious belief that “I can never get what I want” or “my mother doesn’t love me”.
The reason why children in the same family will react so differently to the same situations is that they are reacting based on their predefined belief patterns. This also explains why it isn’t possible to “protect” your children from childhood “trauma”. I.e., it isn’t the experience itself that is traumatic for the child, it is the child’s beliefs that make a certain experience traumatic.
To summarize how illness is created: our belief patterns directly affect whether our thoughts are positive or negative, which in turn influences whether our emotions are positive or negative. And if we continually experience negative emotions, it will lead to blocks in our energy fields, which negatively affect our physical health.
Holistic medicine involves at least two different objectives. First, there is usually a lot of work needed at the different levels of the energy field to repair energetic “damage” due to years of living with energetic blocks. Additionally, the ultimate goal of healing is to correct the true source or our health problems: our negative belief patterns. The healing of these belief patterns will not only transform our physical health, but also our lives.
Types of Holistic Medicine
There are two types of holistic medicine that I will mention briefly in this article: energy work, and soul psychology.
Energy work (aka energy healing) is healing that is conducted on one or more of the levels of the energy field and can include one or more of the following treatments:
- Unblocking energy meridians
- Removing energy blocks and foreign energetic entities from the energy field
- Repairing chakras that are no longer working properly
- Restructuring energy templates
- Restoring vital life force energy to the body
- Discovering, and bringing to conscious awareness, past traumatic experiences that have been stuck in the energy field in order to process through and release these experiences
- Providing energetic support necessary for correcting negative belief systems and helping to bring a client back into alignment with his/her true self
Soul Psychology is a type of talk therapy that recognizes all aspects of the individual. Traditional psychotherapy does not recognize the spiritual aspect of self, much less understand its relationship to physical health.
The purpose of soul psychology is to gently help a client discover his/her negatives beliefs systems, and aid her through the process of replacing them with positive beliefs. Part of this process involves learning about and recognizing “negative pleasure” which is the unconscious pleasure that accompanies all painful experiences. (For example, the experience of self-victimization is often accompanied by a subtle notion of self-superiority.) Once this pleasure found within our pain is brought to our conscious awareness, we then have the power to release the “need” for experiencing that specific pain. This in turn helps us to release negative belief systems in exchange for positive ones.
- Barbara Brennan: Hands of Light: A Guide to Healing Through the Human Energy Field. Bantam. 1998.
- Louise Hay. You Can Heal Your Life. Hay House. Hay House. 1984.
- Eva Pierrakos. Fear No Evil: The Pathwork Method of Transforming the Lower Self. Pathwork Press. 2013.
- Alice Steadman. Who’s the Matter With Me? De Vorss & Company. 1977.
- Joshua David Stone. Soul Psychology: How to Clear Negative Emotions and Spiritualize Your Life. Wellspring. 1999.
Note: a condensed version of this article can be found here: What is Holistic Medicine?