As anyone who knows me will attest, I’m an atheist who tends not to believe in or endorse things that don’t have some sort of grounding in hard science. I’m not religious. I don’t rely on horoscopes. And during this past year of significant medical problems, all of the solutions exclusively involved western medicine. And so it might seem a little strange that this week’s 5 Question Friday is with Ashley Looker, a Holistic Health Counselor & Coach. But I’m someone who thinks it’s important to talk with people you don’t agree with. I find it’s often a great way to learn new things and see areas where I might agree after all.
1. What is holistic health?
Holistic health is an alternative way to looking and approaching wellness. Unlike going to a western medicine physician and being prescribed a pill for an ailment or symptom, holistic health practitioners look into all areas of a person’s life that could potentially be affecting their health. Holistic health is essentially “whole-body” health. With my clients we discuss not only nutrition and exercise, but also relationships, career, home environment, spirituality, joy, and purpose.
2. What’s the biggest misconception of holistic health?
The biggest misconception of holistic health is that people think it’s weird, quirky, and “out there.” The word holistic has somehow been associated with psychics, intuitive healers, monks, and energy workers. Many people think I am going to read their mind, wear Birkenstocks, have dreads and make them eat tree bark, which is never the case! As a Holistic Health Counselor I help people understand how all areas of their life can impact them physically and how, for example, a stressful job or relationship can manifest itself as irregular digestion, food allergies, or cravings. I teach people that food and health do not have to be complicated, and that food truly is medicine.
3. At what point do holistic health and traditional healthcare techniques meet?
Sadly, there are not many traditional western physicians that practice with a holistic approach. Most MD’s were not taught to ask their patients about nutrition, relationships, or work, but instead how to diagnose and the medications that will treat their symptoms. As a matter of fact, most MD’s only receive about 6 hours of nutrition training while in medical school. However, there are some amazing physicians out there who were classically trained in western medicine but through personal experience and years of helping others, have truly seen the impact that food and a positive lifestyle can have. These doctors include Deepak Chopra, Mark Hyman, Andrew Weil, and the great Dr. Oz. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that western medicine can save people’s lives and that we have some of the best treatments in the world for some people; however, I also believe that if we were taught about the importance of food and holistic health, many people could be treated without having to put synthetic medicine in their bodies, which only hide symptoms, don’t treat them.
4. What can someone who is interested in holistic health in Tacoma do if they want to learn more or get involved?
Tacoma is awesome in the fact that there are so many open-minded and eclectic individuals that live here, and there are many places where you can learn more about holistic health. Many of the yoga studios in the area teach from a very health-conscious approach, so that may be a great place to start introducing yourself to holistic health (and it’s cost effective as well). Another great place to learn more is to visit Good Karma Center For Joy located at 711 St. Helen’s Ave. They offer yoga and meditation classes, art classes, massage, counseling, aromatherapy, and acupuncture. This is also the space that I work out of and have found it to be so amazing because we all work together to provide many levels of self-care: creative, mental, spiritual, and physical. I love what I do!
5. What is the one thing you’d like everyone to know about holistic health?
The one thing I so wish everyone knew about holistic health is that it truly works, and that anyone facing weight, food, and other health concerns should look into it as one of their options.I have helped many of my clients overcome Diabetes, depression, anxiety, cravings, and improve their overall happiness. When I was 23 years old I started experiencing severe joint pain, so much so that I couldn’t even steer the steering wheel in my car. My doctor told me I had Rheumatoid Arthritis and prescribed me a medication that’s side effects included leukemia, cancer of the female organs, hair loss, chronic fatigue, and nausea. I was scared as hell but knew there was no way I could take the medication. I knew I had to look into different options, so I started with my diet. I had always thought I was healthy because I was thin and I exercised, but in reality my diet was complete crap, the people I surrounded myself with were toxic, and I was stressed to the max. Within two years of diet and lifestyle changes, my joint pain had nearly disappeared. I am living proof this “weird, quirky” stuff does work.
I’d like to thank Ashley for taking the time to participate in 5 Question Friday. You can learn more about Ashley at her website www.uniqueholistichappiness.com. She’s also offering a free 30 minute consultation for those who are interested. Ashley can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkdIn.
If you think you or someone you know might want to participate in 5 Question Friday, drop me a line at email@example.com.
– Jack Cameron