Thursday, 10 July 2008

What is a Holistic Therapist?

This is a question which I have been asked on many occasions. Let me set the scene – I’ve met up with old friends or family I haven’t seen for ages and they ask – “So, what do you do for a living now?”. I give my standard reply of “I’m a Holistic Therapist and I run my own business” and I get a confused, but excited, person looking back at me. Then comes the question - “What is a Holistic Therapist?”. And it is a good question. My usual (and easiest) answer to the question is to just list what treatments I offer as most people have heard of aromatherapy and massage but really I should explain it properly promoting what holistic therapies are and how beneficial they can be to people.

The word Holistic comes from the Greek word ‘holos’ meaning whole. The word Therapist means a person trained in the use of physical or psychological methods, such as massage, reflexology, counselling etc., in treating or rehabilitating the sick or injured or helping patients overcome physical or psychological problems. So, a Holistic Therapist helps treat people with various problems by emphasising the importance of the whole (mind, body and spirit) and the interdependence of its parts. The whole person is treated and not just the symptom or disease that a person presents with. For example, if someone came for a Reflexology session to help with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), not only would I work the digestive system reflexes on the feet but I would also speak to the person about their diet and how much fluid they drink and whether they are under any stresses or strains in their life which could be causing or contributing to their symptoms.

The word Holistic is also commonly interchanged with Complementary and Alternative which often confuses things even more. Holistic Therapy is a generic term for any therapy that is intended to treat the individual as a whole. So that would include massage, reflexology, reiki, aromatherapy, hopi ear candling, homeopathy, acupuncture, shiatsu, kinesiology, and crystal healing to name but a few. The list is endless - every week a new therapy seems to emerge. One thing I can safely say is that I will never be able to do all of them!

Being a Holistic Therapist is a very relaxing, enjoyable and rewarding career and I feel excited and happy that I can do something I love as a job.

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