There is a well-known adage that exists among those who believe in the practices of self healing and alternative health. It states, "health exists when body, mind and spirit work in harmony." This simple expression quite adequately encapsulates the holistic philosophy behind the self-healing arts. While a wide array of tools and specialized approaches are available for practitioners, each ultimately opens a doorway toward a more all-encompassing understanding of the dynamics behind vibrant health and healing.
The practice of self-healing is at least as old as humanity itself. It is likely that primitive people observed the use of certain plants as medicine by sick or injured animals, thus commencing a long regimen of herbal trial and error that continues to this day. Over time, each human culture developed its own approach to self healing. In India, the so-called Ayurvedic herbalist approach became prominent, while Chinese principles grew to involve the balancing of life-force energies such as yin and yang. European and American tribal cultures mixed their understanding of medicinal plants with the practice of shamanism. These and other such healing arts contribute to the various approaches that are common today.
Self healing is commonly viewed as an ongoing process. In the physical sense, this involves practicing a sort of preventative medicine through both a healthy diet and the use of various supplements and herbal preparations. Exercise is encouraged and the consumption of unhealthy foods and substances is discouraged. When a medical problem develops, the afflicted person might seek out the advice of a licensed nutritionist, herbalist, massage therapist, chiropractor or all of these. The practice of self healing involves being in touch with one's own body, its needs, and slowly learning what is called for in varying situations.
The belief that thought creates is the underlying philosophy behind the connection between mental and physical well-being. Therefore, in order to achieve a constant state of vital health, or to heal one's physical condition, it is necessary for a person to change her belief about her ailment. Many of our precepts are deeply rooted, however, and a considerable amount of work may be required in order to change these belief systems.
The Spiritual Approach
Spirituality concerns one's relationship to the Universe, the Creative Force, Nature, or God--however one defines his understanding of the natural order. For some, there is no separation between things of the spirit and our physical world and existence. Spiritual growth is equated with the expansion of consciousness, which in turn leads toward a realization that one's physical, mental and spiritual aspects must work harmoniously. It is believed that through this integration of the three, the process of self healing becomes workable and leads to perfect health.
Self healing and the principles behind it are not for everyone. There are many for whom the ideas involved lie contrary to their personal or religious beliefs. It is important that anyone considering the practice should consult with those more knowledgeable about the subject, and then find a comfort zone from which to begin working. Everyone starts off from their own special state of understanding; those who disagree with many of the basic philosophies behind natural healing can still benefit from incorporating ideas with which they feel comfortable. After all, who can argue with maintaining a healthy diet?