So, I survived Thanksgiving. When I first started, my weight was 229 pounds. Last week I hit 219. My first goal to meet is 215 pounds by January 1st. Three weeks left and it seems to be a very achievable goal. My weekly check in with Shannon at Revolutionary Wellness has been key to me being able to achieve this goal. She has provided me not only with meal plans, but with guidance on how to better achieve my goals, both with my weight loss and for everyday life. Which leads me to todays word. Holistic. What comes to mind when you hear that word?

When most people hear the word holistic, they automatically picture a person who wears long, flowing clothing, has not had a haircut in years, and surrounds themselves with incense and crystals. Their glasses are always perfectly round circles and tinted some wild color. They wear sandals in all weather and have a perpetual smell of Patchouli. They adhere to mystical beliefs, always want to cleanse your aura, and remove your “negative energy”. There is a Coexist bumper sticker and a Jesus fish on their car and a woodchuck named Bartholomew is their spirit animal.

Now raise your hands if thought of any of those things. I know I often did when hearing that word. It was only after educating myself on what the word holistic means that I was able to break that stereotype in my mind. Now here comes the educational part of this week’s blog:

According to the good folks at Merriam-Webster (the dictionary people) the definition of holistic is relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” expresses the essence of holism, a term coined by the great South African general and statesman Jan Smuts in 1926. Holism generally opposes the Western tendency toward analysis, the breaking down of wholes into parts sometimes to the point that “you can’t see the forest for the trees”. Holism is an important concept in the sciences and social sciences, and especially in medicine. Holistic medicine tries to treat the “whole person” rather than focusing too narrowly on single symptoms. It emphasizes the connections between the mind and the body, avoids the overuse of drugs, and has borrowed such practices from Eastern traditions as acupuncture and yoga.

I did not really start thinking about the word holistic until two things happened. First, I received an invitation for our company, Fusion Rehab and Wellness, to join the newly formed Holistic Chamber of Commerce. At the time I still held onto my stereotypical ideas of what I thought the definition of holistic was (see second paragraph). Before I jumped right in and signed our company up to become a member, I wanted to see if we fit the definition of a holistic practice.

Do we try to treat the “whole person” rather than focusing on single symptoms? Check. Do we discuss with our patients how the mind and body connect? Check. Do we avoid the use of drugs? Sure do. Has physical therapy borrowed practices from Eastern traditions such as acupuncture and Yoga? Travis and Darrell both do functional dry needling and Michelle is a Yoga instructor who works aspects of that into her treatments. I would call that a really big yes.

The second thing that got me to think about the word holistic is my weekly meetings with Shannon. While she gives me assistance with my dieting, I find much of her advice I carry over into how I deal with other situations in my life. In the past five weeks, I have been able to take different approaches on how I do my job. I have made improvements on my interactions with people. I do not get as stressed about things as I used to. I am eating better than I have in years and I lost ten pounds. Seems to me that I have been taking a holistic path here. Treating my mind as well as my body. Everything is interconnected.

I go get blood drawn this week for labs that my doctor has requested. Next Monday I have a meeting with my doctor. I want to see if my cholesterol and blood pressure are good enough to get me off those medications. I will update you on that next week. Until then, I wish you all a good week.

Written by: Craig Repanshek

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