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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Understanding Holism: A Collaborative Approach to Interactive Wellness

Dec 28, 2012 01:01AM ● By Allison and Matthew Lapp


Theoretically, holism considers the universe, and especially nature,as interacting, living, whole organisms that comprise more than the sum of their parts. This basic concept is sometimes overlooked in the definition of holistic health, yet it plays an integral role in understanding what holistic care aims to achieve, within the context of ‘relationship’. Bountiful outcomes for a state of harmonious living can unfold when such care is successfully applied.

A truly comprehensive system of patient care that encompasses the physical, emotional, social, economic, environmental and spiritual needs of the individual will consider each of these factors when addressing unique wellness needs.

If our goal is to achieve balance and nurture healing in such a multi-dimensional approach, it is wise to seek practitioners that share these perspectives, and study and advocate behaviors that promote health. We can explore the variables that affect our perceived state of well-being and the needs that must be met to achieve it. Wellness is an active state of being that exists on a limitless continuum; it is up to us to claim ownership of that state, regardless of life circumstances.This empowers each of us to take responsibility, defining and working for optimal levels of daily function and existence within our various roles.

Wellness care is a collaborative effort in which the practitioner and individual work together to establish goals and gain insight regarding any healing challenges, improvements and successes during the healing process.Wellness care is not about avoiding symptoms of disease, or even about preventive interventions, because in a true wellness paradigm, symptoms help the individual to better understand the circumstances in their life that underlie the symptoms.Although practitioners and individuals engaging in wellness care recognize the need to identify symptoms of disease as they manifest, the treatment of the symptoms is not necessarily the goal.Instead, wellness care is about gaining greater awareness, insight and wisdom about life and the innate gifts that each of us possesses.

In considering all options when choosing a practitioner to partner with on the path to healthier living, it may be helpful to perform a self-assessment—known as a wellness inventory--in order to better identify needs and goals. Begin by drawing a large circle on a blank sheet of paper. Starting in the center of the circle, divide it into eight equal segments, with straight lines extending to its edge. Each line represents a different area of life, completing the circle like spokes on a wheel.

The lines should be labeled: physical, mental, emotional, social, spiritual, financial, career and environmental. Score each category by making a mark along each line, the length of which represents one’s sense of wellness. The longer the line—the farther away from the middle it extends—the higher the score.A perfect score would fall directly on the border of the larger circle. The category marks are then connected to revealone’s well-being wheel. Would the shape of that wheel yield a bumpy or smooth ride? Just as a single flat tire can make an entire car ride uncomfortable, an area of life that has been overlooked can be detrimental to an individual’s quality of life.

Ultimately, health and wellness care is a personal choice.Seeking additional information and asking more and better questions often lead to greater understanding and therefore, better outcomes.When we find a practitioner that might be a good fit, we can ask questions to better understand the practitioner’s care philosophy. This allows us to embrace the power that is within and join with our health practitioner to collaboratively create the best life possible.

Drs. Allison and Matthew Lapp recently opened Be Well Lancaster: A Center for Holistic Health, at 7 N. Mulberry St., in Lancaster. For more information, call 717-205-2303 or visit

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