Health/Wellness, Patient Blog | Feb 27 2024

What is holistic healing? 

Traditional healthcare focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of specific symptoms or diseases, often using medications and medical interventions. There is an emphasis placed on addressing the current, most obvious problem rather than considering the big picture and root cause. As an alternative to traditional medicine, holistic healing tends to prioritize prevention and long-term well-being. This approach is appealing to some as it seeks to optimize overall health by establishing healthy habits through lifestyle changes and a more personalized nutrition plan and uses natural remedies as interventions before more invasive treatments are considered.  

Holistic healing

As the name suggests, holistic healing consists of treating the whole person, which includes their body, mind, spirit, and emotions. The key idea is that each aspect of a person is connected and by achieving balance among all areas, optimal health and overall well-being can be attained.  

The role of the registered dietitian

When working with a dietitian for holistic healing, you can expect to meet with them one on one for a personalized analysis of your concerns. Goal setting and progress monitoring are valuable tools used to help the provider and client focus build a solid foundation and then maintain healthy habits for the long term by way of moderation and balance versus restriction. Often, holistic healing will incorporate the use of various tools and resources that serve to assist you in your health journey. Meditation apps, fitness trackers, online programs, and the use of gratitude journals are a few that may be recommended. 

Understanding holistic nutrition

The key principles of holistic healing as it relates to nutrition can be summed up by: 

  • A diet that emphasizes nutrient-dense, whole-food consumption. Some may refer to this as “clean eating” meaning a diet free from processed foods and containing a high concentration of vitamins, minerals, fiber, unsaturated fats, and lean proteins. 
  • An individualized assessment and personalized plan that takes into consideration the whole person including their age, gender, health history, and genetics.  
  • A balance of a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle habits. Things like exercise, stress management, hydration, mental health, and exposure to environmental toxins can affect overall health and well-being. Therefore, these aspects are addressed as smaller parts of an overall large picture. 
  • Preventative health and long-term goals are the basis of holistic healing. Implementing ways to prevent chronic health conditions and setting long-term goals to achieve and manage health are viewed as more important than simply treating symptoms as they arise. 
  • Education and the power to make informed choices are encouraged. 

Mindful eating and movement viewed as medicine

When mindful eating is combined with the mindset that movement acts as medicine for the whole body, the balance of the two speaks to the idea that mind and body are very much connected. As an example, being mindful at mealtime can place a positive connotation on the foods you are eating by creating a positive emotional feeling towards the time spent eating or preparing the meal. In terms of a holistic view on movement, another example is found in the act of practicing yoga. Yoga practice not only strengthens the body from a physical standpoint but increases one’s mental strength as well by way of how it nourishes the mind.

Common health issues addressed holistically

There are several common conditions that people often seek a holistic approach for healing. Sometimes as a first line of defense or other times as a last resort. It is important to note that in most cases, a holistic approach to healing does not replace traditional medicine, but rather complements it. We recommend you speak to your physician before pursuing any holistic approach, especially if it will be replacing or delaying traditional medicine. 

  • Stress 
  • Digestive issues 
  • Sleep disorders 
  • Hormone imbalance 
  • Autoimmune disorders 
  • Food insensitivities or intolerances  
  • Mental health  


A holistic approach to healing can look different for everyone. The common thread among all is that the whole body is considered, and the treatment or care is individualized. Holistic healing aims to create a balanced approach to overall well-being where the goal is not for absence of disease, but rather a flourishing of the whole body, mind, and spirit. 

What is a Holistic Treatment Approach? Available at Accessed on 12/21/23. 
Is Holistic Therapy Right for You? Available at Accessed on 12/21/23. 
Is Holistic Medicine Good? Available at Accessed on 12/21/23. 
What is Holistic Nutrition? Available at Accessed on 12/21/23. 
 What is Functional Nutrition? Available at Accessed on 12/21/23. 
What Is a Naturopathic Doctor? Available at Accessed on 12/26/23. 
Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Available at Accessed on 12/26/23. 
Sarah Hammaker, RDN

About Sarah Hammaker

Sarah Hammaker, RDN is a clinical dietitian working primarily in long term care and acute rehabilitation hospital settings in PA. She holds certificates of training in the areas of Adult Weight Management as well as Integrative and Functional Nutrition. Outside of work, Sarah enjoys spending time with her husband and their four children. She loves running and being outdoors. Her hobbies include reading, planting and shopping.

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