There has been a lot of talk lately about a holistic, or holistic, approach to health. People understand this concept in different ways. Many include "alternative" medicine and medicines, so in their understanding holistic medicine is associated with acupressure, acupuncture, herbs, meditation, vitamin supplements, chiropractic, yoga, aromatherapy, feng shui, massage and even sound therapy.
I endorse holistic medicine as a concept, but not as a popular phrase that is used to refer to any non-traditional medical practice, the benefit of which is often not proven. Nutrition, for example, is of paramount importance to our health. Eating is perhaps the closest contact we have with our environment; what we eat becomes part of our body.
However, other things are also important - physical activity, emotional and mental health, and a comfortable environment. It is necessary to include these aspects in our concept of health, since they are all interrelated. And this approach is truly holistic.
This growing relationship became apparent to me during my animal experiments. Rats that were kept on a low-protein diet not only did not develop liver cancer, but also had lower blood cholesterol levels, were more energetic and voluntarily "exercised" in the wheel twice as long as rats whose diet contained a large amount of squirrel. The evidence for increased activity has been backed up by the overwhelming number of practical examples I've encountered over the years: People who eat well are more energetic.
The synergy between good nutrition and physical activity is very important, and there is evidence that the two areas of life are intertwined. The combination of proper nutrition and regular exercise helps a person achieve better health than the two factors alone.
We also know that physical activity affects a person's emotional and mental well-being. Much has been said about the effect of exercise on various chemicals in our body, which in turn determines our mood and concentration. And the improvement in emotional well-being and intellectual ability pushes us to maintain an optimal diet.