Elizabeth Dyer

lifestyle blog

An Introduction to the Term “Holistic”

May 31, 2019

The word “holistic” is often misunderstood and comes with many connotations which may or may not include Birkenstocks, lack of hygiene, and out there political views. When I tell people that I am involved with holistic counseling and in living naturally, I am often asked if I use deodorant (yes, seriously).

From my experience, it is the exact opposite. Becoming a more holistic person has involved a lot more introspection and valuing my health and hygiene more than ever. It is simply a matter of approaching my health differently than our society is used to.

In order to introduce the idea in layman’s terms, I will give you a scenario:


Say you have a persistent skin condition. What do you do?

First, you would likely start at your Primary Care Physician (PCP). You would tell them about your symptoms for your skin condition – dry, itchy, red bumps, flaking, scratching at night, etc. Your PCP would likely say, “Yep, you have a skin condition. I think it looks like eczema, but you should go to a Dermatologist, someone who specializes in skin, to be sure.”

Then, after months of agony due to scheduling, you arrive at the Dermatologist. You again explain the symptoms of the skin condition. They examine your skin closely, take swabs, and may even order some scans to rule out cancer or something morbid. They end the appointment agreeing that it might be eczema, but it is hard to tell for sure since it presents differently on so many people. There is no cure for eczema, but the itchy, burning skin symptoms will not go away with steroids so you are given a prescription.

You take the steroid prescription and – alas! – have some relief. All seems to be going well for the 7-10 days that it clears up. You probably have wild mood swings causing you to fight excessively with your partner and scared about the side effects listed on its carton, but it is better than bleeding yourself to death at night so it’s fine.

All seems to be going well, you move on with your life and then BAM, you get the same symptoms all over again. It seems worse this time and your scars from the last round haven’t even healed yet. W T F.

Here is where the vicious cycle begins. You go back to your Dermatologist. Nothing came up on your scans or blood work. You just have sucky skin, it seems. It will respond differently to a different topical steroid prescription, you are assured. It may never go away, you are told, you will just need to manage the symptoms.

After a few rounds of this or maybe even years or a lifetime of this, you start to get depressed, unable to sleep, unable to leave your house, and coming to terms with the fact that the skin condition may never go away. Maybe you should try a new lotion. Maybe you are allergic to your pets. Maybe you don’t wash your clothes enough or in the right detergent. Maybe you need to give up lotion entirely or just find something with x ingredient in it. Everyone feels the need to weigh in. You start asking yourself, “why me?”, “why won’t it just go away?”, “are they sure they didn’t find cancer?”.


Why is the key to healing holistically. If you are a curious person like I am, you will have no problems fitting in here.

The situation described above is very common, in America especially. It is an example of symptomatic treatment. This system works particularly well for acute issues aka sharp and severe pain lasting for a short period of time up to a few months. It often becomes a system of symptom management rather than a cure for chronic illness, a condition that is persistent or long-lasting. There is nothing wrong with addressing acute pain, but this approach to health is lacking the tools for healing chronic issues. Ultimately, it does not get to the true cause or root of the issue.

In holistic health, your skin condition is the symptom. It is a symptom telling you that something in your body is off because your skin is a part of your whole body. In order to heal, you must look at your health whole-istically by taking a full body approach that includes health, but also addresses things like relationships and spirituality.

To keep with this example, instead of targeting the skin, someone with a holistic background would take a different approach and start by learning about you as a person. How were you birthed – C section or vaginally? Have you experienced trauma? How many prescriptions did you take in childhood? What are your stress levels? Do you exercise? What do you eat? What is your environment like? etc. All of the intricacies of your body play off of one another. You cannot possibly just look at your skin. The big question becomes – what about my lifestyle is causing my body to react through my skin?

It can become maddening trying to pinpoint which area of your life then needs improvement. That’s where I come in! I can guide you to a protocol that will improve the areas of your life that need the most attention. Just knowing where to start can be the biggest challenge! I’ll give you a secret though – it typically starts with food. You are what you eat, remember?

I know you are now asking yourself, “Really? That can’t be it? Is eating healthier, reducing stress levels, and introducing healthier habits really going to fix my skin?” The short answer is yes. I invite you to dive into the holistic world with me either through my blog or any number of my services to see for yourself what a difference it makes to treat your body as the whole that it is!


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