The Power of Holistic Health

Did you know, cancer rates in the UK are now projected to be 1 in 2? Additionally, 26% of adults in the UK are classified as obese and chronic diseases are surging to unprecedented levels. The nation is struggling with an epidemic of ill health, putting pressure on the NHS as appointment availability decreases, bringing the very service that was once the ‘envy of the world’ to its knees. With one third of people aged over 65 having two or more chronic illnesses, conventional medicine crafted in an era dominated by acute illnesses, now faces the complexities of managing multiple chronic conditions per patient.

It seems now more then ever, a paradigm shift must happen in order to sustain the level of ill health that is exploding across our country. Imagine a world where healing isn’t just about fixing symptoms, but where the mind, body, and soul come together in a journey of change. In the realm of holistic health, this vision becomes reality — an approach to care that empowers individuals to reclaim their health and vitality from within.

Embracing the Philosophy of Holistic Health

Holistic health is an approach to care that considers the whole person — mind, body and soul. It is based on the philosophy that all three aspects are interconnected and for us to achieve optimal well-being we need to address all three in a balanced way. Characterised by its personalised approach which recognises the entirety of the person, holistic health tailors interventions to heal specific imbalances while also accounting for lifestyle and environmental factors.

Holistic health isn’t about replacing conventional medicine; it’s about embracing all facets of healthcare, including conventional methods, alternative medicine, and complementary therapies. It’s about integrating the best aspects of each to achieve the most favourable outcomes. What’s particularly important is recognising the uniqueness of each person; there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to healing. This underscores the importance of personalised care, and creating a collaborative relationship where individuals are empowered as active participants in their journey toward wellness.

The Importance of Holistic Health: A Paradigm Shift

The current healthcare system fosters a sense of disempowerment among individuals, hindering people’s ability to actively engage in their own health journey. Consequently, many rely solely on medication without the necessary knowledge or resources to reclaim control over their well-being. Prioritising symptom alleviation over addressing underlying causes may provide immediate comfort but the imperative must always be to target the root cause in order to achieve vitality and wellness.

Additionally, the absence of sufficient education and health promotion in our society means people are mindlessly sleepwalking into chronic disease. Unaware of the toll their lifestyle choices are having on their health, many find themselves caught in a downward spiral towards illness costing them their health. With the over promotion of pharmaceutical interventions, individuals have grown accustomed to seeking a ‘magic pill’ to solve all their problems. The holistic approach to health offers a paradigm shift — one that empowers individuals to take an active role in their own healing journey.

Understanding Healing: Healing vs Curing

Healing transcends the mere resolution of physical ailments; it involves the restoration and integration of balance, harmony, and wholeness across all dimensions of being — physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It is a holistic journey of self-discovery, growth, and renewal, marked by profound shifts in perception, understanding, and consciousness. Healing invites individuals to embrace vulnerability, release stagnant energy, and nurture a deep sense of acceptance, resilience, and authenticity. Ultimately the term ‘heal’ means to become whole.

This differs from ‘curing’ which refers to the total resolution or eradication of physical symptoms or diseases.  While curing is undoubtedly important and valuable in alleviating suffering and improving quality of life, it often overlooks the underlying root causes of imbalances that contribute to disease. As a result, the relief provided by curing may be temporary, failing to address deeper issues at play.

Not everyone can cure their disease, but anyone can heal.

Awaken Your Inner Healer

Central to the holistic philosophy is the concept of ‘awakening your inner healer’ — a profound recognition that lies at the heart of every individual’s existence: the innate capacity for healing. Within each of us, dormant yet powerful healing mechanisms await activation. By engaging in mindfulness practices, making conscious lifestyle modifications, and embracing self-care rituals, individuals can tap into the profound wisdom inherent within their bodies. Through this intentional and nurturing process, they unlock the full spectrum of their healing potential, leading to profound transformation and holistic wellness.

Let me share an example of a young woman battling with a longstanding history of alcoholism and anxiety. At 29 years old the woman found herself going through a particularly challenging time due to a recent bereavement and unfair dismissal from a job she loved. Overnight her world as she once knew it was turned upside down. With no tools to manage the pain she was experiencing, she turned to alcohol to supress her emotions. The woman, experiencing acute stress, found herself engaging daily in a fight or flight response, leading to a state of profound agitation. Seeking relief from the physical symptoms including rapid heart rate, shaking, panic attacks, anxiety and low mood, she sought assistance from medical professionals. During a 10 minute consultation with a general practitioner, she was offered a muscle relaxant to calm her nerves, and also a beta blocker to help with the racing heart rate. The woman willingly took the medication and found some resolution to her physical symptoms. However, she was still experiencing significant mental and emotional distress.

The situation spiralled out of control and upon hitting rock bottom, the woman knew she had to change. Without understanding the concept of ‘healing’ she embarked on a journey to discover its meaning. The woman started with breath work and meditation. She found during these practices she could calm her nervous system and reduce her anxiety. To her surprise the consistent meditation started to deepen her conscious awareness and understanding of the world. She started responding differently to stressful situations, realising that she had complete control over her thoughts and emotions and therefore her own reality.

She started to look inwardly and realised that her unhealthy relationship with alcohol had stemmed from childhood trauma and a lack of self-confidence. She knew the alcohol was damaging her body, so she made a promise to herself — that she would stop. She sat and poured her heart out in a letter to herself to be opened on her 30th birthday. This would entail all of the changes she planned to make before entering this new chapter of her life. And with that promise she continued on her journey. She discovered the power of holistic healing and started experiencing benefits from Reiki and sound healing sessions. She dedicated time to self-care practices, loving and nurturing a body she had been long abusing. She connected to her spiritual side discovering not only who she was but also her purpose for being.

As the woman celebrated her 30th birthday, she found herself reflecting on the profound changes that had occurred within her. With tears streaming down her face, she read the heartfelt birthday card written by her former self. Each word served as a powerful reminder of the pain she had endured and the remarkable journey she had undertaken. Now, eight months into her journey of sobriety and free from reliance of prescription medications, she marvelled at her newfound confidence, no longer leaning on alcohol as a crutch in social situations. Rediscovering her love for life, she realised that embarking on the path of healing had been the most significant gift she could have ever given herself. And with her newfound knowledge she knew she had to find a way to show others about the power of the healing journey.

That woman was... me.

Newfound Knowledge

With all my newfound knowledge and insight, I threw myself into education and study retraining as a holistic practitioner, spiritual counsellor, health coach and Reiki energy healer. All the while continuing to work 12 hour shifts in the NHS to fund my new addiction. As I gained more insight and understanding, I noticed a drastic increase in the quality of nursing care I was providing. Naturally I have always been a very caring person, but this was different. I started to understand my patients on a deep soul level. I started to feel their pain and suffering.

With my new counselling abilities, I found myself holding space for patients riddled with chronic disease who would open up and tell me of their hardships. I couldn’t believe the traumas people were describing and it helped me understand exactly why they were in that hospital bed. Every time I had the privilege of interacting with a patient like this, I would feel an energetic weight lift from them as they cried and told me of their past. I lost count of how many patients would conclude our conversations with “thank you for listening to me, nurse.” While these expressions of gratitude should have brought comfort, they instead stirred a sombre ache within me. It became increasingly apparent that amidst their suffering, the most valuable gift I could offer was not a pill, but rather a compassionate ear and genuine human connection.

Initially, frustration and anger consumed me as I grappled with the limitations of the system. However, I knew those emotions weren’t conducive to the work I was doing. So instead, I channelled that energy into action, using those emotions as a catalyst to establish my own business. It became evident that I could not thrive within a system that failed to recognise the entirety of each individual. Witnessing the unmet need for a more comprehensive approach to care, I was driven to create a service that prioritised holistic well-being.

Some people ask me, “how do you still work in the NHS?” The truth is, I do it for the patients.  Of course, I could leave if I wanted to, but I know I can make a difference to the people sat in those hospital beds because of my knowledge and understanding. And as I have discovered from my own healing journey, helping other people nourishes my soul, its what lights me up and gives me a reason for being.

This work however doesn’t come without its challenges. I find myself facing closed-minded skeptics who stubbornly adhere to a strictly scientific paradigm, fearing concepts such as spirituality and healing. Accusations of promoting ‘pseudoscience’ have been levelled against me, despite the fact that nurses have long been encouraged to adopt a holistic approach to health. So I start to wonder, is it possible that western medicine has become so infatuated with the ‘science’ and symptom management that they have forgotten that there is a whole person there?

My Mission

Despite the challenges of my journey, I am committed to spreading awareness about the power of holistic health. And people are starting to listen! I believe wholeheartedly that a holistic approach is essential to meet the growing demands of chronically sick population. Adopting the principles of holistic health is not just beneficial — it’s essential.  

After spending the past nine years immersed in conventional medicine, I’ve witnessed first hand the alarming decline of our nation’s health. My own transformative journey through holistic healing has ignited a passion within me for this approach to care. I am driven by a mission to bridge the gap between conventional medicine and holistic healing, demonstrating to others the profound impact of holistic practices on both health and quality of life.

By understanding health beyond physical ailments, holistic practices offer a pathway to transformation and empowerment. Through my work, I’ve witnessed lives being changed, and I hope this article inspires a similar awakening within you. The healing journey, from my perspective, is a priceless gift — one that leads to a life brimming with unconditional love, consciousness, and joy. As a nurse fuelled by a zest for life from discovering holistic health, I am eager to share this knowledge with you. I encourage you to embark on your own path of holistic healing, for I believe this is the key to unlocking a fulfilling and vibrant existence.

So, are you ready to heal?

To find out more, please visit Poppy Bazell's website, Mindful Nurse here and connect via Instagram @mindfulnurseuk.

Poppy is an experienced registered nurse with a background in emergency & acute medicine. With over 9 years of experience and a masters degree in nursing she has a diverse skill set with knowledge of a range of disease and illnesses. Having worked overseas as a clinic nurse, she has also gained a global perspective on healthcare acquiring cultural experiences and further widening her understanding of health.

Poppys true passion lies within health and wellbeing and holistic healing. In 2021 after going through her own personal healing journey she discovered the power of holistic practices. Fuelled by a profound spiritual awakening, she was given a very clear purpose to revive the holistic approach by merging the realms of conventional medicine and holistic healing. Poppy stands at the intersection of two worlds, bringing together the best of both and raising awareness on an approach to care that is essential for health and wellbeing.

Through her holistic nursing service Mindful Nurse, she integrates counselling, health coaching, and Reiki energy healing along with her nursing knowledge to provide comprehensive care for chronic disease. Poppys mission is to empower others to unlock their innate healing potential and embark on their own journeys toward wellness and wholeness.

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