Ancient Wisdom for Modern Wellness: How Holistic Health Practices Keep Us Whole

It’s ironic how today’s health and medical knowledge is often considered outdated and irrelevant if it’s over a decade old. You can blame the arrogance of the modern medical system for this.

Before medicine was science-based and evidence-proven, people all around the world inherently knew what worked, and what didn’t, to make someone feel better. Medicine was considered common knowledge. Sure, one would seek a shaman or healer for serious issues, but people knew when to sleep, what to eat, and how to treat common colds or liver conditions.

When someone felt dis-ease, he would return to traditional methods to regain ease. Meditation, breathing exercises, abstinence from certain foods, or fasting created a period of cleansing. Personal energy was balanced with needles, rocks, hands-on energy transfer, prayer, and exercise.

The Holistic Approach to Disease Progression

Rather than always trying to find a single specific protocol, ancient practices acknowledged that disease manifests differently in different people. They focused on addressing the root cause of illness, as every ailment or pain was believed to be linked directly to a traumatic event or a sign of dis-ease or dis-order.

Science sometimes neglects this larger perspective. The ancient knowledge of the body, spirit, and individual’s place in society, in relation to disease, came from an innate understanding of the human condition.

Breath-focused Practices

One of the most common forms of ancient body regulation that is still practiced today includes exercises that center on the breath. These practices include meditation, tai chi, and qigong. Interestingly, some scientific studies have looked at the efficacy of such activities.

Study 1 – Examined randomized clinical trials (RCTs) of qigong in patients with hypertension. Results showed encouraging evidence for qigong lowering systolic blood pressure but called for more rigorously designed trials to confirm these findings.
Study 2 – Found physical activity interventions involving tai chi or qigong may improve outcomes like physical function, blood pressure, and depression/anxiety in older people.
Study 3 – Analyzed the efficacy of a qigong intervention on the quality of life in women with breast cancer during radiotherapy treatment. Results indicated that women in the qigong group reported less depressive symptoms, fatigue, and better overall quality of life.

Connecting Mind, Movement, and Breath

These studies show how practices such as qigong can have positive effects on various levels. However, Western scientific methods often strip qigong down to simple breathing exercises. The foundation of qigong is not the same as deep breathing, as it unites the mind, movement, and breath as one. The mind leads the energy to move in synchrony with the body, focusing solely on the sensations of the body as the breath and body move together.

Unfortunately, scientific medicine does not always recognize the importance of practices like qigong, which focus on the connection between mind, body, and spirit. While relieving symptoms is essential, comprehensive integration of traditional approaches can assist in determining the root cause of a disease.

Treatment for the Whole Person

Let us not rely solely on modern pills and surgeries, although they have given us invaluable breakthroughs. We must also return to a natural, human-centric way of approaching our health – one that addresses the interconnectivity of each illness, and accepting that conditions don’t usually manifest without reason. By embracing traditional methods, we can restore ease and balance in our bodies and lives.