Holistic health and wellness is a term in circulation nowadays. It was in fact, a very popular concept in ancient India and China, where they believed in considering all aspects of health to treat a disease. The practice gradually fell out of favor due to the radical shift in modern medicine.
Nowadays, lifestyle diseases are on the rise due to high stress, exposure to harmful chemicals via pollution, and abundant junk food. Modern medicine can regulate these diseases, but not eradicate them. They can only be fought with the power of holistic health and wellness. Holistic health looks beyond the symptoms of an individual and seeks to heal from the root of the issue. Even conventional medicine has started recognizing the importance of holistic health, increasingly intertwining it in traditional treatment plans.
What Does the Term Holistic Health and Wellness Mean?
The word holistic means of the whole, and wellness means the state of being in good health. Holistic health and wellness refer to the practice of taking into consideration, the body, mind, and spirit when treating an illness. It recognizes them as one interdependent and interconnected unit. When the issues affecting these are treated individually, the overall health of the body improves. Holistic health considers the whole person and how they interact with their environment. Usually, holistic approaches use a combination of nutrition and activities for healing. These activities may include movement, chanting, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, etc.
The basic steps in achieving holistic health include:
Listing down your health problems
Finding the root cause through various diagnostic tests
Eliminating the potential causes with natural methods
Purifying the body of toxins
Introducing healthy nutrients in the body to heal and replenish
Levels of Holistic Health and Wellness
There are 3 main levels of holistic health and wellness – Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary. Each of these levels encompasses certain elements.
At the primary level, the wellness elements are physical, intellectual, and spiritual. Physical wellness is achieved by exercise, nutritious food at the ideal time, and adequate rest. Intellectual wellness concerns learning capabilities, problem-solving, and nurturing creative skills. Spiritual wellness is accomplished by meditation, self-actualization, and self-awareness.
At the secondary level, the wellness elements are emotional and financial. Emotional wellness involves emotional awareness, understanding, and acceptance of feelings. Financial wellness is accomplished with good earnings, potential savings, and secure investments.
At the tertiary level, the wellness elements are vocational, social, and environmental. Occupational wellness is achieved by leveraging talent, capabilities, responsibilities, and goals. Social wellness is attained by empathetic capacity, social skills, and building trust. Environmental wellness is attained by using green and organic products, undertaking green initiatives, and optimum resource utilization.
The 8 Elements of Holistic Health and Wellness
Let’s look at the 8 elements of holistic health and wellness in detail.
The physical element of holistic health and wellness refers to the body. A healthy body is one that is free from injuries and diseases. Since all the elements are intimately connected, a decline in physical health directly affects other forms of health. Staying physically healthy allows you to carry out your daily activities without undue strain or fatigue.
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water to detoxify the body and maintain its pH.
Intellectual wellness implicates lifelong learning, application of knowledge, and sharing knowledge. Increasing mentally engaging activities helps improve your overall health while simultaneously decreasing your risk of developing mental illnesses. Intellectual wellness boosts your decision-making skills, focus, and memory.
You can take care of your intellectual wellness by:
Exercising your mind to engage in finding solutions to problems.
Striving to grow intellectually and remaining curious about your environment.
Avoiding the use of drugs, excessive drinking, and harmful activities which can interfere with your cognitive skills
Indulging in healthy discussions through community platforms for knowledge sharing
Trying out new and creative things or nurturing old hobbies.
Social wellness is about connecting with members of your community to form positive relationships. Having an in-person connection helps you feel interconnected and tethered to the world. It is a powerful tool that can help you experience and respect diverse cultures. Social wellness enables you to adapt to new situations and people with confidence and ease.
You can develop and foster social wellness by:
Volunteering for community activities and participating in social causes.
Listing your social needs and reflecting on the values you would like to share and build with your community
Meeting and networking with new people for career growth
Treating other people with respect and maintaining healthy boundaries.
Letting go of relationships that do not serve you any longer.
Emotional wellness means the ability to navigate your feelings. This means identifying, assessing, and effectively sharing those feelings with others. Being emotionally sound makes it easy to identify stressful situations and seek help. Emotionally well people retain positive emotions for a longer time and are comparatively more resilient.
You can cultivate and improve emotional wellness by:
Journaling regularly to evaluate your experiences and increase self-awareness
Practicing being present at the moment with gratitude
Feeling your emotions rather than trying to suppress or deflect them
Creating a list of those who support you and how best to contact them
Seeking out a certified therapist or counselor in times of need.
Spirituality is commonly viewed as having a sense of purpose, direction, or meaning in your life. Spiritual wellness refers to building a secure mind and body connection. It is built on the foundation of values, beliefs, faith, and ethics. Spiritual wellness allows you to find your inner peace and tide over life’s challenges.
You can identify the aspects of spiritual wellness and develop them by:
Spending time alone and reflecting on your thoughts
Praying, practicing yoga, or meditating either individually or in group guided programs
Traveling and exploring places to experience natural, geographic, and cultural diversity.
Participating in activities that are consistent with your beliefs and values.
Being aware and appreciating the differences in opinions and values
Vocational wellness refers to finding satisfaction in the work that you do. Participating in work that provides personal growth and is consistent with your values, goals, and lifestyle is important. Vocational wellness is subjective, based on your conditioning.
You can foster vocational wellness and career growth by:
Increasing your awareness of the career opportunities available to you
Pivoting towards work opportunities that are personally meaningful and rewarding.
Maintaining a positive relationship with your colleagues.
Finding a sustainable balance between work and personal life.
Creating personal benchmarks to measure work satisfaction and productivity.
Keeping your workspace clutter-free to inspire creativity and productivity.
Financial wellness is your ability to meet current and future needs using monetary resources. It is measured by your preparedness to handle a financial crisis. It encompasses the ideas of living within your means and making informed financial decisions. Increasing financial wellness also increases your quality of life.
You can make sound decisions for your financial wellness by:
Setting realistic financial goals and working around them.
Prioritizing paying off debt.
Creating an emergency fund.
Setting aside a fixed amount of money every month as savings
Preparing for short-term, long-term needs, goals, and emergencies.
Creating a retirement plan if you’re in your mid 30’s or above
Environmental wellness refers to your interaction and response to the natural world. It is affected by your immediate personal surroundings as well as the larger community in your neighborhood and workplace. Going the extra mile to live an environmentally friendly life and conserve the world’s natural resources, serves you as well as the planet.
You can cultivate and improve environmental wellness by:
Understanding how your social, natural, and built environments affect your well-being.
Surrounding yourself with positive people that support you.
Fostering a culture of respect and gratitude.
Taking steps on an individual level to mitigate pollution, by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
Reducing your carbon footprint with conscious consumption.
Keep Exploring Holistic Health and Wellness
A holistic approach towards health is the path to a happy and fulfilling life. It can help you achieve deeper levels of wellness and prevent diseases. You can start by focusing on one pillar at a time and move ahead gradually. Practices like water fasting, juice cleansing, and plant-based eating are good stepping stones to initiate the first pillar i.e. physical wellness. Other pillars can be approached subsequently, to build a solid foundation for a healthy lifestyle.
Balance For Life is an active promoter of wellness-oriented lifestyle choices. We offer retreats that help you recharge, refresh, rejuvenate and take control of your body. Begin your journey into holistic health and wellness with us!
Every once in a while it is important to pause, reset and reconnect with yourself and nature. Taking time out to focus on your health or simply relax is known to benefit your overall health and increase your productivity. A detox holiday gives you the best of both worlds, a relaxing vacation as well as a health check.
It can be hard to take a complete break when you’re in the usual setting of your home, which is why people are increasingly turning to a detox holiday. It is the best way to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle, unwind and prioritize your wellness.
Read on to know the importance of a detox holiday and how you can plan one for yourself.
What Is a Detox Holiday and Why You Should Plan One?
Every day our body is exposed to various external and internal toxins. If left unchecked, these toxins can damage our organs, contributing to illnesses. Detoxification is the process of eliminating these toxins and cleansing the body from the inside which results in a healthier physical and mental state. Our body has a unique ability to detoxify itself, but nowadays, due to pollution, stress, and poor lifestyle choices, this ability gets compromised, resulting in both physical and mental health problems.
A detox holiday is a wellness getaway that helps you move away from your regular life and indulge in healthy food and activities. It gives your body’s natural detoxification process a helping hand. Your body is replenished with a diet rich in essential nutrients and vitamins, giving it a much-needed break from the over-processed, fatty and sugary foods. There are various types of detox retreats varying from cutting out meat, wheat, sugar, and dairy to living only off of pure, fresh-made juices or plain water.
A detox holiday can present a series of life-changing benefits. It can be the fastest remedy for many of your health concerns. It can kick-start weight loss, renew energy levels, and boost your immune system, further giving you a fresh start and motivation for change when you get back.
Steps to Plan the Ultimate Detox Holiday
1. Set Your Goals
The first step in executing a detox holiday is setting a precise and attainable goal. Have a clear sight of what you would like to achieve. Start by asking yourself about the major problems that you want to address in your lifestyle. Consider your short and long-term goals regarding any issues plaguing you. Jot down modest health goals that can help you with these issues and be accomplished over the holiday.
Think about what you would like to explore and why. Do you want to focus on your mental health? Are you looking to work towards attaining a healthy inner balance? Or do you simply want to reconnect with nature? After setting your goals, you can think of preferable methods to reach your set goal like yoga, diet plan, western spa, or a combination of all.
2. Find Out How Much Time You Need
Once you have decided on your goals, a dedicated time window will help you prioritize them and fit in as many important things as you can in the holiday period. Consider your needs, budget, and holiday restraints.
On average, the most recommended duration is of minimum 7-10 days. This might depend on the techniques and diets you are planning to rely on to achieve your goals. Different techniques and diets have different time requirements. It can also further depends on the severity of your problems. A more severe problem can extend the detox by several days or even weeks.
3. Partner With a Wellness Professional
Find a wellness professional who understands your body and commits to your vision. Look for trusted professionals who have a wide experience and expertise in helping people achieve their personal detox goals.
A wellness professional can offer you a personalized program that works well for your body. You can closely work with them to figure out the diets and exercises or yoga to integrate on your holiday. The expert will prepare a wellness chart for you including special dietary preparations based on your body type, lifestyle, age, health condition, and primary wellness goal.
Having someone who is committed to their mission and truly believes in the science of detoxification can be very empowering. Usually, detox retreat programs like the ones offered by Balance For Life, are medically supervised by wellness experts and include pre-planned meals and activities tailored for you.
4. Find a Relaxing Place for the Holiday
Look for retreats and wellness centers that fit your vision. When the surroundings are right, they reinforce and act in synergistic ways to help you achieve your goals. Watch videos on YouTube, read blogs and testimonials about other people’s experiences to zero in on your ideal detox holiday destination. This will also give you a fair idea of what to expect.
Once you have an establishment in mind, check out its website to know their booking prices and the services they have to offer. Set up a call to discuss and book your stay.
5. Outline Your Daily Agenda.
Outlining your daily agenda will help you check all the goals you’re planning to achieve through the detox holiday. Include a healthy mix of holistic activities like yoga, meditation, light exercises, soft adventures like hiking, treks, or location-based tours, rejuvenating spa treatments, etc. in it. The activities can vary depending on your holiday destination.
The wellness chart created by your healthcare professional will also play an important role in your choice of activities. You need to make sure that the activities are not detrimental to your body. If your diet is going to be light with low-calorie meals, it’s best not to indulge in intense activities that require a lot of energy. It’s always good to consult your wellness professional before adding such activities to your agenda.
6. Plan Your Meals
Detox meal plans usually comprise water fasts, juice fasts, plant-based meals, or a macrobiotic diet. Make sure your holiday destination has a restaurant or meal service that provides meals adhering to your chosen diet. You can enquire with the manager of the establishment to know these details. Check out the available menu and decide on the meals you would like to have during your stay.
You also need to be mindful of portion sizes. Just because you are doing a detox doesn’t mean you can binge on healthy foods. Sticking to the meal portions suggested by your wellness professional is the key to avoiding overeating. This way you can also sample a wide range of dishes available.
7. Prepare for the Detox Holiday
A few weeks prior to your detox holiday, start changing your diet in preparation, to avoid putting your body in “shock” or “detox crash”. Clean up your diet by cutting down on alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, refined sugars, carbonated drinks, and saturated fats.
Prepare your body by including more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, and nuts in your diet. Keep yourself hydrated with plenty of water, juices, and herbal drinks to aid your detox transformation. The sooner your body can adapt to these changes, the easier it will be for you to maximize your detox process. Avoid over-exercising or doing anything that will put your body under stress. Instead, complement light exercises with yoga and meditation.
8. Journal Your Experiences and Plan For the Future
Carry a journal with you to make a note of what worked and did not work for you during the holiday. A detox retreat shouldn’t be a one-off event but rather a start to a much healthier lifestyle that is physically, mentally, and nutritionally fulfilling.
Keep a tab on online resources and books providing insightful information, tips, individual experiences, and advice. Develop a fitness plan with small but achievable goals for healthy habits along with a wholesome natural diet post the detox process. Stick to this plan and make adjustments wherever needed to ensure that the benefits gained from the detox retreat aren’t lost.
Start Planning Your Ultimate Detox Holiday
It’s essential to get away from the daily stress and break your routine to relax and recharge. A detox vacation focuses not only on cleansing your body but also on rejuvenating your mind and soul.
Planning your detox holiday beforehand is crucial to make the most out of it and gain the best results in a short time. If you don’t have enough time to plan a detox holiday of your own, you can discover our selection of detox retreats or contact our wellness experts to decide on the right program for you. Thereafter all you need to do is come and enjoy our plant-based SOS and beach getaway. You will have the best experts on hand to monitor and guide you throughout the process and resources to help you with your post-detox journey.
If you’ve been looking up ways to lose weight, you’ve probably heard about water fasting. It has recently become a popular method for speedy weight loss. Social media is all the rage about it, with before and after transformation photos popping up daily.
The practice of fasting has been around for centuries. During water fasting, you cannot consume anything besides water. Various studies have shown that water fasting has health benefits such as reduced inflammation, stable blood sugar levels, and good heart health. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what water fasting is and its 8 incredible benefits.
Keep reading to learn more!
What Is Water Fasting?
Water fasting is a type of fast that restricts the consumption of everything except water. Most water fasts last 24–72 hours. Fasts longer than this should be done under medical supervision.
Even herbal teas, black coffee, calorie-free drinks, and supplements are not allowed during water fasting. The juice cleanse and lemon detox cleanse are other methods modeled after this fast.
The water-only fast method is somewhat inspired by intermittent fasting, which has shown well-documented and evidence-based results for weight loss, immune system, and metabolism. The studies cited below apply to all types of intermittent fasting, a category that water fasting falls under.
Benefits of Water Fasting
1. Activates Autophagy
Autophagy is a fundamental process of cleaning out damaged cells, to regenerate newer, healthier cells. Basically, your body’s cells eat themselves and clean out any unnecessary or damaged cellular components. If these damaged parts accumulate in the cell, they can make it difficult for your cells to repair themselves and regrow vital structures, which is a risk factor for many cancers. This is why autophagy is essential for keeping cells healthy. It can help prevent cancer cells from growing. Several animal studies suggest that autophagy may also help protect against diseases like Alzheimer’s, and heart disease.
The nutrient deficit is a key activator of autophagy which is why water fasting activates it. Food restriction for 24 or 48 hours induces fatty change and autophagy in the liver. It peaks around 32 to 48 hours of fasting after which its intensity drops and stabilizes.
2. Helps in Lowering Blood Pressure
Water fasting is considered a safe and effective method of bringing high blood pressure to a normal level. This is one of the water fasting benefits that is also useful in helping people to take on health-promoting behavioral changes in their day-to-day lives.
This study shows that longer, medically supervised water fasts may help people with high blood pressure to lower their blood pressure.
In another study, 68 people with borderline high blood pressure water fasted for around 14 days under medical supervision. At the end of the fast, 82% of people had a blood pressure that was now within a healthier range. Additionally, the average drop in blood pressure was also significant.
Other studies exist that prove the same, which only strengthens the idea that water fasting could lower your blood pressure.
3. Induces Ketosis and Fat Loss
When your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn for energy, it goes through a process called Ketosis. During this process, your body burns the stored fat to make ketones, which are used for fuel. Ketosis is a metabolic process that forces your body to use up the fat is stored in case you’d have no food in the future. This results in fat loss, which is one of the most sought-after water fasting benefits.
In the first 24-48 hours of water fasting, your body burns the stored glycogen for energy. After day two, your body enters into the state of ketosis. Water fasting induces ketosis more quickly than through Keto or other low-carb diets.
4. Improves Insulin and Leptin Sensitivity
Diabetes is a disorder in the way the body uses glucose, a sugar that is required to generate fuel for the body. When blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas produces insulin, the hormone which signals cells to take sugar from the blood. Fat cells store extra glucose in the form of fats. In the common type 2 form of diabetes, cells lose their insulin sensitivity. This is also called insulin resistance which is recognized as a predictor of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
Insulin and leptin are both important hormones for metabolism. The former helps the body store nutrients from the bloodstream, while the latter helps the body feel full.
This study shows that water fasting can make your body more sensitive to leptin and insulin, making these hormones more effective.
5. Reduces the Symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome
A metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises the risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other illnesses. These risk factors occur together when your body is unable to regulate cholesterol, certain proteins, and glucose properly. Most people with this syndrome already have insulin resistance that we mentioned earlier.
Heart disease is a condition in which a waxy substance called plaque, builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. It hardens and narrows the arteries, reducing the blood flow. This can lead to chest pain, heart attack, heart damage, or even death.
This study shows that water fasting helps reduce or eliminate the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. The results of the study are promising as the 5-day water fasting showed many critical beneficial effects without toxicity.
6. Lowers the Risk of Several Chronic Diseases
There is evidence that water fasting can lower the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Water fasting can significantly lower your blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides — two risk factors for heart disease.
Several animal studies have found that water fasting may protect the heart against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are reactive atoms that contribute to tissue damage in the body. They play a significant role in many chronic diseases.
Another animal study has also found that water fasting may suppress genes that help cancer cells grow. It may also improve the effects of chemotherapy.
Dr. Frank Sabatino, current contributor and special guest host of the Balance for Life Retreat Program, discusses the benefits of water fasting for fighting cancer in this interview.
7. Improves Quality of Sleep
Melatonin, also called the sleep hormone, plays an important role in the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Its production increases with evening darkness, promoting healthy sleep and regulating your circadian rhythm.
Scientists believe that insulin and melatonin have a hostile relationship, meaning they take turns suppressing each other. Insulin levels drop at night in response to an increase in melatonin and melatonin levels are low during the day in response to high insulin levels.
A study shows that short-term modified water fasting can improve sleep patterns and daytime alertness. It causes your insulin levels to drop and melatonin levels to rise, which helps you sleep better and on time.
8. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is another word for swelling. It is a reaction from your white blood cells to safeguard your body from viruses, bacteria, and other foreign invaders that can make you ill. Thus, normal levels of inflammation within the body are necessary as your immune system depends on it. But when the body goes through the inflammation process even when there are no invaders to combat, it might begin attacking otherwise healthy tissue. Inflammation can be acute or chronic. Having diseases and/or conditions such as Alzheimer’s, asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer puts you at a higher risk of developing chronic inflammation.
This study has shown that water fasting is effective in treating inflammation since it induces large anti-inflammatory actions in the body.
Many foods like processed meat, alcohol, refined carbohydrates, seed and vegetable oils, etc can worsen inflammatory symptoms. When you eat mindfully or avoid all food with a water-only fast, it is possible to lessen your inflammatory symptoms. This happens due to autophagy, a process mentioned earlier, during which your cells eat their old and damaged parts so the remaining cell is healthier. If the cell can’t be salvaged, it is completely destroyed. Thus, more monocytes aka the largest white blood cells are regenerated to prevent unnecessary immune system responses.
Water Fasting Benefits Galore
Water fasting is quite popular in the wellness world. Longer fasts are recommended in traditional medicine like naturopathy as they have shown significant health benefits. But fasts longer than 24–72 hours should be approached with care, under the supervision of a qualified doctor, and by following their instructions.
After a three-day water fast, you need about 3 – 4 days to slowly come back to regular eating habits. Hence, it is advised to plan for a total of 6 – 7 days for the complete process. Ideally, a retreat or a quiet holiday is a good way to attempt this fast and reap all the water fasting benefits. The water fasting retreat from Balance for Life is one such holistic program that provides supervised water fasting. It includes a lot of perks that help you to continue your wellness journey beyond the retreat.
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