Health. A holistic approach.

Whenever I used to hear the word ‘holistic’ I would cringe. I thought it was for the yogis, tree huggers and spiritual gurus (no offence to anyone here – I think you’re all awesome). However, I didn’t truly understand the meaning of holistic.

The Oxford Language dictionary defines holistic in two ways:

  • PHILOSOPHICAL DEFINITION characterised by the belief that the parts of something are intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
  • MEDICAL DEFINITION characterised by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of a disease.

By looking at both of these definitions, especially the medical definition, we can start to unpick what a holistic health approach is.

A lot of people (my old self included) think that health is simply eating well and exercising, but actually it’s so much more. Now there’s loads of research, science and studies that show that our health is affected by a number of factors. Let’s take a look at Dan Buettner’s work on the ‘blue zones’ to help us understand this concept of holistic health.

Blue Zones

Dan Buettner, is an explorer, National Geographic Fellow, award-winning journalist and producer, and a New York Times bestselling author. He discovered the five places in the world, dubbed ‘Blue Zones’, where people live the longest, healthiest lives. These fives places were:

  • Okinawa, Japan
  • Sardinia, Italy
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica
  • Ikaria, Greece
  • Loma Linda, California

Ultimately, Dan and the team of demographers and researchers found that all blue zones areas share nine specific lifestyle habits that they call the Power 9®:


1. Purpose

2. Down Shift


3. 80% Rule

4. Plant Slant

5. Wine at 5

Assortment of fruit and vegetable on a table


6. Right Tribe

7. Loved Ones First

8. Belong


9. Move Naturally

As you can see from the Power 9® there are a number of other factors that affect your health than simply exercising and eating well. In fact, Dan Buettner found that people living in the blue zones didn’t ‘workout’, they just stayed active throughout the day.

Holistic Health

From Dan Buettner’s work with the Power 9® we can see there are a number of other factors that affect your health than simply exercising and eating well. Often our food habits can reflect what’s happening in our lives. If we have imbalances in our life, such as anxiety, low self-esteem, or a lack of purpose, we can compensate for these in what we eat (I certainly know I ‘binge’ on chocolate when I’m stressed) . What’s more, these imbalances can manifest in our bodies without even affecting out diet – for example our skin breaking or feeling bloated due to stress.

Taking a holistic health approach addresses the root cause of a problem rather than simply treating a symptom. By addressing the root cause, you will be able to make sustainable and long-term change. It should be noted that there’s isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach either. We’re all different and have different needs and wants. Whether it’s your diet, your lifestyle, the number of friends you have and so on, healthy will look different for different people.

If you’re interested in exploring a holistic approach to health to live a happier, healthier life, please feel free to book a free 50 minute consultation to discuss your nutrition and health needs. I’m always happy to chat.

Have a fab day!

Love Emma x

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