My training is as a CHEK Practitioner.

CHEK is an acronym that stands for Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology, it’s a bit of a mouthful but I like to explain what this actually means to people because there is so much misunderstanding of what it means to be holistic.

Firstly it’s worth considering what traditional/allopathic treatments and therapies offer and the model within which they work.

Example: if you have a headache what would you do? Take an aspirin?

Well if you said yes, that would be an example of an allopathic approach to medicine. You understand what the symptom is and you take a substance to alleviate it, at least in the short term.

If you take a herb instead, perhaps that your herbalist/acupuncturist/massage therapist said was good for headaches, is this now holistic?

Another example: if you have back pain would you get it treated by taking pain relief and carry on as normal, or would you have a course of repeat visits to the chiropractor each week to realign that joint that keeps “popping out”?

Is one holistic and the other more allopathic/traditional in its approach?

Well it’s my belief that we have a bit of an issue with our current approach to health and wellbeing.

In the last few years there has been an explosion in massage therapists, nutritionists, personal trainers, osteopaths and many other practitioners besides.

The spend on “holistic” therapies is rising every year and whilst I see it as a huge positive that people may now be more prone to choose a herb for a headache over an aspirin, or the chiropractor instead of the Ibuprofen, it’s still not holistic.

It doesn’t matter, in my opinion, if we are taking herbs, seeing accupuncturists to balance our chi flow or whatever other practice that works for you.

We need a REAL holistic practice for people to get better results and ultimately to teach each individual how to better self-manage.

So I’ve told you what I think holistic isn’t, but what is it?

Firstly the reason why the above examples are not, in my opinion, is that they are all still “treating to spot what hurts”.

A truly holistic approach to health and wellbeing relies upon a full understanding of each patient/client/customer. It requires that we know whether someone has emotional stress, physical aches and pains, hormonal challenges or poor digestion.

We need to understand that every single organ and gland we have is connected to a muscle and joint through the nerves. These organs are also responsible for “recording” emotional experiences, so stress that affects your liver for example, can quite easily end up in your shoulder.

It also requires that we have a system to map out these areas and see how they are all fitting together.

And finally once we have made professional judgements on which systems are out of balance it requires us, as practitioners, to comes up with lifestyle modifications that will bring the mind, body and spirit back to a place of harmony and balance.

It can be quite frustrating to hear that someone who has neck pain has been told that it’s all because of a tight muscles in the shoulders by a massage therapist, when in actual fact if they had more time to look at the whole person they would have been able to see that a poor breathing pattern was causing an overuse of the shoulder and neck muscles and this in turn was affected by digestive discomfort.

So the holistic approach here is to work with the client on balancing the digestive system at the same time as working on that tension in the neck/shoulders with corrective stretches, exercise and massage work.

However treating the spot that hurts, in this case the neck, will lead to repeat appointments for exactly that same thing, with little or no real results.

It’s harder to do all the assessment, it takes longer, and more time to sit down and read through all the paperwork to really understand each individual, but once we do we can really begin to teach each person what is at the root of some of their challenges.

I’ve been fortunate to work with many people over the years that have tried everything under the sun before they end up at our door, the difference was always the approach to the person though not the tools that were used.

This in my opinion is a holistic approach.

I’d love to hear your thoughts…