Starting a holistic journey is an exciting one, but if this is territory that you’re unfamiliar with, it’s hard to know what to expect when you’re getting started. We recently interviewed holistic health practitioner, Chelsie Ward, who not only mapped out what we could expect in a holistic journey but also gave us some advice for someone who is struggling as well as resources she recommends.
Chelsie explained what holistic healing is and what a typical session is like, what kinds of health challenges holistic modalities can be effective for, what holistic healing is like from the patient’s point of view, and what to do if you’re feeling skeptical about this journey.
First, we’ll learn about Chelsie and her background in holistic health. You can learn more about Chelsie and her work here:
A little about Chelsie and her professional background:
The human mind and body have been an interest to me for over 20 years, and it started with the study of behavior analysis. After doing research for several years I went back to nursing school, but during that time I was experiencing illness myself. I went on to study spiritual healing and functional medicine hoping to find the answers to my own personal health battle.
Holistic health allowed me to heal my body naturally after being failed by conventional therapies. With my newfound energy and zest for life, I looked around me and saw the same energy-depleted faces I once knew so well. I realized others needed to know these somewhat hidden secrets to health and happiness. So I published my story in a book called Healed His Way and now work as a holistic nurse and wellness guide to help others address the root of their health issues so they can live their best life in health.
When I was about 10 years old, my grandmother looked at me and said, “child, you get everything that comes down this family line.” I suffered from ADD, bloating after meals, and constipation. I was on birth control by age 12 for severe menstrual cramps. By the time I hit college, I was diagnosed with depression, hypothyroidism, and then perimenopause at age 27. I was going to the pharmacy every month but wasn’t getting well. I knew there had to be a better way. That’s when I started to study how food is medicine and how our bodies are created to heal themselves. We don’t heal because we don’t address the root of our illness.
I had all the tools from my studies in both conventional and natural medicine to heal myself. I understood the body from an emotional, behavioral, and spiritual standpoint. My background gave me a deep understanding that my symptoms were more than a physical problem. Once I started to look at myself as a whole (mind, body, spirit), I created my own plan to heal when no other doctors could help me. I remember thinking, “how could this simple approach be hidden from so many people?” So I went on a mission to share with as many people as possible and to create a program that gives people their life back when they’ve lost hope.
The best part of this work is being able to guide others through miraculous transformations. Clients like Cheryl have overcome energy and weight issues related to poor digestion and hormone imbalances. Watching her go from sitting on the couch every day, wishing her life were different to being the role model for her family to being a published author makes the work so rewarding. There are also clients like Becky who came to me with digestive issues, malnutrition, and infertility who have delivered healthy babies and are completely fulfilled as a mom and wife.
Celebrating their success is what drives me to continue. It’s powerful work and nothing short of a miracle when people realize how simple it can be to get rid of cravings and uncertainty in what to eat, realize they don’t have to kill themselves in the gym to get results and have the ability to stop lifelong habits of emotional eating when they have the right tools.
1. What holistic healing is and what a typical session is like from start to finish:
Holistic health addresses a person as a whole. Conventional medicine addresses everything separately. We see a psychologist for a mental or emotional concern and a medical doctor for a physical concern, and hardly consider that anything physical can be caused by a spiritual component.
My clients complete a detailed assessment that gives me insight into what may be driving certain disease processes in the body. We also perform advanced labs when necessary to uncover the root cause that may be linked to hormones, immune, digestion, or detox systems. Clients have access to an online course that guides them through the foundational principles of living a holistic life. We use individual sessions together to address many of the emotional and mindset blocks as well as create specific protocols they implement between sessions to help with nutrition, movement, stress reduction, supplements, sleep, and other foundational areas.
2. Health challenges that holistic healing modalities can be effective for:
Holistic healing is great for chronic health conditions or disease processes that a person has lived with for a period of months or years. Many times these conditions develop due to poor lifestyle habits. For example, excess body fat, allergies, depression, anxiety, diabetes, menstrual irregularities, thyroid, irritable bowel or digestive issues, and autoimmune diseases are common conditions I see resolved or put into remission when we address them from a holistic standpoint.
The focus should be on the root of these conditions. Hormone imbalances, poor sleep, toxins, negative thoughts, lack of movement, and poor diet are a few areas we look at when addressing the underlying cause. Hippocrates said all disease begins in the gut. So what we must realize is that healing must begin in the gut too. Nutrition, digestion and simple techniques that allow us to better digest and absorb our nutrients are huge pieces of the health puzzle.
Even stress causes a physical response in the body. The eyes dilate, digestion and reproduction shut down, blood pressure and blood sugar rise. If we don’t address the emotional or stress-related components, then we mistakenly treat the symptoms as if they are the cause. Masking the real problem with medications to treat the symptoms leads to a cascade of other health issues. Most people I work with have gone through a major stressor about a year before we meet. It can be physical stress from an accident, emotional stress from job loss, or chemical stress from something going on internally with hormones or digestive issues, for example. They have labs from their doctor that appear to be somewhat normal, but they know something feels off. That’s where advanced labs come in handy to help investigate the underlying cause of dysfunction so clients can get back to feeling like themselves again.
Detox is a foundation in my programs, and where the magic starts to happen. It was the missing piece to my health puzzle for many years and once I understood how to do it correctly, it changed my life. I continue to watch it change the lives of my clients as well. The problem is, when I mention the word detox, a lot of people say they’ve tried it or go to a box store and pick up a detox tea or something that flushes their colon. They usually get no results or have a miserable experience, so they swear it off as a gimmick. Most of my clients have underlying digestive, hormone, immune, or metabolism issues, and detox is the foundation for priming the body to heal these areas.
There are 3 phases of detox and you must have the right combination of nutrients and reduce overall stress to see the best results. When done right, it can set the stage for hormone balance and heal lifelong digestive issues.
3. Holistic healing from the patient’s point of view:
A lot of my clients have no understanding of holistic health when we meet. Others have studied some of the healing principles and have begun to implement ancient remedies that are a huge part of this work. Stress and the spiritual aspects are 2 areas that are often missed. It’s difficult to understand how habits and emotional patterns can impact the physical body until a guide helps you make that connection through things you experience on a daily basis. Each lesson brings new aha moments that are celebrated and discussed so there is a connection in the future. Some of the greatest success stories come from those who have overcome a stressful period of time and realized they didn’t turn to food for comfort for the first time in their lives. They can then see the clear difference between the different types of hunger. It’s the experience that gives the best understanding of how conventional therapies with diet and medication differ from holistic healing.
4. What if someone is skeptical about holistic healing:
We have to meet people where they are. If it’s forced, it’ll never work. As humans, we look for ways to prove our beliefs. Simply living out the principles of a holistic lifestyle speaks loud enough. I may remind skeptics that if it works for one person, it can work for others. It’s really an invitation at that point to explore the options with a little curiosity. For example, I notice people feel better in general when they eat a gluten-free diet. I can discuss the results of the labs and wave my gluten practitioner certification around all day, but if they say, “I don’t feel bad when I eat gluten,” then I have to allow them to experience it on their own. At that point, I invite them to go gluten-free for a period of time and show them how to clean up the entire diet so they experience the real benefits. Once they reintroduce it, they get to decide if they want to continue eating it long-term. “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” ~ Tao Te Ching
Chelsie’s universal health and well-being tips:
Create your own life laws.
THESE ARE MY GUIDING PRINCIPLES TO LIVE BY!
Move your body in the morning.
Focus on whole living foods.
Protect your energy.
Set clear boundaries and say no often.
Give when you see a need.
Make others feel loved.
Be quick to forgive.
Treat others with respect.
Put God first, then self, then husband, then others.
Chelsie’s advice to someone who is struggling:
As humans, we go through difficult times. We have a choice in those difficult moments to play the victim to our circumstances as if we’re unique and no one understands, or we can tune in and look for the lesson so we can grow and become better. It may be difficult to shift in that moment, but that’s why it’s important to surround yourself with a community of like-minded people who will call you out when you’re not doing the best thing for yourself. I provide that for my clients.
Give yourself permission to approach life with a healthy curiosity instead of continuing in the direction you’ve always known. It’s how we learn and grow the most.
Hire a mentor if you want to speed up your path to success. If you meet someone who has what you want, make the investment so you can gain insight from their experience. Personal growth and hiring mentors and coaches who have what I want is one of my greatest secrets to success. I know I’m paying them a fraction of what it cost them to learn first hand.
Chelsie’s recommended resources:
Daybreaker – favorite resource for a daily joy practice
Metabolic Food Guide – eat to fuel your metabolism
The best part of a holistic healing journey is that it can be whatever you want to make it, there are no rules, and you just have to be open to trying new things.
Chelsie Ward is a professional holistic health practitioner who explained to us what holistic healing is, what a typical session is like, what sort of health challenges holistic health can address, and what to do if you’re feeling skeptical.
You can learn more about Chelsie and her work here:
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