10 Pillars of Holistic Health and Wellness
To truly improve and maintain a high quality of life, we need to go beyond focusing on specific symptoms and start looking at health from a more holistic perspective. This guide will help you understand why holistic health and wellness are important, outline the 10 pillars that make a strong foundation for well-being, and explain how ZYTO technology helps you consider each of these pillars from a holistic perspective.
Table of contents
- What is holistic health?
- Why is it important to look at health holistically?
- 4 core system pillars
- 6 lifestyle pillars
What is holistic health?
Traditional Western medicine focuses on treating symptoms and specific parts of the body that are unhealthy. While holistic care doesn’t ignore specific symptoms or areas, this alternative approach to health looks at the whole person. If a person has a stomach issue, for example, a holistic health professional will consider various related areas that may be impacting the stomach. Some of these areas may include:
- Related body systems & parts
- Environmental factors
- Emotional & mental health
- Diet & lifestyle factors
- Body energy
- Spiritual health
Considering the whole person and looking at how these areas may be interacting allows a holistic health professional to get to the root of the problem rather than only treating symptoms. Additionally, holistic health is a particularly powerful approach to preventive health and maintaining good health and wellness over time.
Why is it important to look at health holistically?
In Western medicine, diseases and illnesses are typically treated with prescription drugs or surgery. Although there are times when drugs or surgery are necessary, they can have negative side effects. And while it’s true that medical treatments can offer relief from symptoms, they often fail to address the root cause of the problem. This is one reason why it’s common for symptoms to return when a person stops using a prescribed drug.
In contrast to a traditional medical doctor, a holistic health professional prescribes alternative treatments to address the underlying causes of health problems, as well as prevent illness and improve overall well-being. Unlike drugs or surgery, these treatments aim to support the body so it can begin to heal itself. A few of these include:
- Nutritional supplements
- Herbal supplements
- Essential oils
- Services such as acupuncture or chiropractic adjustments
- Mental health counseling
- Lifestyle changes
4 core systems for maintaining health & wellness
We’ve discussed some of the general areas that a holistic health provider may focus on. But more specifically, there are 4 core systems in the body that are critical for maintaining health and wellness:
- Detoxification system
- Gastrointestinal system
- Hormonal/endocrine system
- Immune system
Whether you are very ill, seeking to prevent illness, or just trying to improve your overall health or fitness levels, it is important to evaluate and maintain the health of these 4 systems. How these systems function both independently and interdependently has a profound influence on your health. If one or more system is compromised, the negative effects spill over to all other systems, creating a chain of events that can greatly impact your overall health.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these 4 core pillars of health and how you can get them functioning optimally.
Toxins may come from the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, or from within the body. The liver, lungs, skin, kidneys, lymph nodes, stomach, and intestines work together to filter, reduce, and eliminate these toxins. Thus, from a holistic health perspective, all these areas should be considered if there is an issue in one area.
The liver is the chief organ of the detoxification system. This critical organ converts toxic substances in the blood into chemical compounds that can be eliminated through the lungs, digestive tract, and skin. According to traditional Chinese medicine, brittle, dry, spotty nails and dry eyes and floaters are all symptoms of a blood deficiency in the liver.1
The emotions associated to the detoxification system are important as well when looking at any detoxification issues. In traditional Chinese medicine, the detoxification system is closely connected to the emotions of anger and frustration. These emotions may be the source of a detoxification issue or a symptom that stems from a physical issue.
Like any other system in the body, our lifestyle has a tremendous impact on the health of the detoxification system. Below are a few recommendations to help this system function optimally:
- Eat organic foods free of pesticides & herbicides
- Avoid overeating
- Eat fruits such as cantaloupe, avocadoes, and blueberries
- Consume plenty of vegetables, especially spinach, asparagus, and tomatoes
- Add other detox-friendly foods to your diet such as salmon, almonds, and turmeric
- Drink pure, filtered water
- Consider supplementing with herbs such as glutathione, milk thistle, and dandelion
- Exercise to stimulate lymph flow and waste removal
- Consider deep-breathing exercises and far-infrared sauna to expel toxins
- Limit your exposure to EMF sources such as WiFi and cell phones.
- Add air purifiers to your home and/or workspace
- Consider these 11 ways to detoxify your body daily
The gastrointestinal system handles digestive function and also greatly impacts brain function, hormone balance, immune regulation, and much more. Key organs of this system include the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, stomach, and intestines. Hormones and nerves are found throughout the GI tract. They not only send signals to the brain telling us when we are hungry or full, but also include neurotransmitters that play a key role in our mental state.
Serotonin and GABA are two major neurotransmitters that are produced in the gut. Serotonin assists with controlling our body and contributes to feelings of happiness, while GABA has been found to reduce anxiety and depression.2 3 Other emotions that have an energetic connection to the gut include anger, grief, fear, and frustration.
The digestive system also has a tremendous impact on inflammation. Gut inflammation can be caused by bacteria and parasites, food additives, environmental toxins, mental & emotional stress, and many other stressors. Gut inflammation can not only limit digestion, but can also spread to other areas of the body including the immune system and hormonal/endocrine system.
To support your digestive health, follow these tips related to your diet and lifestyle:
- Get enough fiber in your diet (25 grams for women and 38 grams for men recommended)4
- Stay hydrated
- Reduce or eliminate common gut irritants such as gluten & dairy
- Chew your food thoroughly
- Eat in a relaxed environment to promote healthy digestion
- Add probiotics to help with bowel movements and healthy bacteria
- Practice stress-management techniques such as yoga and meditation
- Exercise regularly
- Consider these supplements for leaky gut
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through our bloodstream and enter tissues, where they turn on switches to the genetic machinery that regulates everything from reproduction to our sense of well-being. The body’s system of hormone production is formally known as the endocrine system.
The pituitary, pineal, thymus, thyroid, parathyroid, adrenals, pancreas, kidneys, and reproductive glands are involved in hormone production and regulation. The various hormones produced by these organs and glands have specific functions within the body. Thyroid hormones, for example, help regulate metabolism, while the hypothalamus regulates emotional response and body temperature, among other things.5
The emotions of anger, anxiety, distrust, guilt, and feeling defeated all have a close energetic connection to the endocrine system. The emotions may both impact and be impacted by the health of the endocrine system organs and glands.
Taking proactive steps related to your lifestyle can have a tremendous positive impact on your endocrine system and your overall health. Below are a few tips to implement to improve the health of this system:
- Incorporate healthy fats such as avocados, cheese, and wild-caught salmon into your diet
- Eat protein-rich foods such as eggs, chicken, and fish.
- Consume foods that are rich in probiotics (fermented yogurt, kimchi, etc.) or consider a probiotic supplement
- Practice meditation to help balance hormones
- Get enough sleep (7-8 hours a day)
- Exercise every day
- Limit your exposure to toxins such as pesticides and food additives
The first line of defense against disease-causing microorganisms is the skin and mucosal barriers. Behind this is a complex defensive system. Collectively, these parts are known as the immune system.
The immune system neutralizes or destroys microorganisms and the toxins created by them wherever they attack the body via the extensive lymphatic system. This system is comprised of the spleen, thymus gland, bone marrow, tonsils, and other organs and tissues. Special white blood cells that originate in the bone marrow, known as lymphocytes, along with antibodies (proteins that neutralize foreign objects), are primarily responsible for carrying out the work of the immune system.
In addition to the lymphatic organs and tissues, the gut also produces antibodies that aid in the immune response.6 And from an energetic perspective, the emotions of anger, shame, grief, and guilt are all closely connected to the immune system. These connections are important to consider when looking at the overall health of this system.
Whether you are fighting off an illness or want to decrease your chances of getting sick, there are a number of ways to strengthen your immune system, including:
- Eat citrus fruits and berries
- Consume plenty of vegetables, especially spinach, broccoli, and kale
- Add nuts and seeds such as almonds and pumpkin seeds
- Stay hydrated with clean, pure water
- Supplement with vitamin C, B6, and E if needed
- Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night
- Avoid immune-suppressing foods such as sugar and processed foods
- Manage stress and keep a positive attitude
- Consider using immune-boosting essential oils and herbs
6 key lifestyle areas
Certain lifestyle areas are critically important to our core systems and our overall health. You’ll notice that the following 6 general recommendations show up throughout the lifestyle tips outlined in each of the 4 core systems above.
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stay hydrated
- Reduce inflammation
- Manage stress
- Get plenty of sleep
- Prevent toxic stress
Diet & nutrition
Regardless of the diet you follow, the primary goal should always be the same: maintaining good blood-sugar control. You can maintain and achieve optimal health only when you are on a diet that promotes hormone balance. That balance depends in large part on a steady blood-sugar level. Eating the proper combination of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins and in moderate amounts at the right time helps to sustain that balance.
Along with getting the right amount of fats, carbs, and proteins, the quality of the food we eat is also critical. While going organic is likely the best option, oftentimes food labeled as “organic” contains inorganic ingredients as well.7 Additionally, only a fraction of the food we it is actually absorbed by the body. This bioavailability of food, as it’s called, is influenced by our diet, nutrient concentration, health, life-stage, and nutritional status.8
While each of us absorbs specific foods differently based on these factors, we can all increase our bioavailability by eating more nutrient-dense foods. This not only means consuming healthy protein, fats, and carbohydrates, but also getting enough fiber, water, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. To maximize your nutrient absorption and balance your blood sugar, here are a few specific tips to follow:
- Center your diet on vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
- Eat foods high in healthy fats such as avocados, eggs, and nuts
- Add healthy fats to your vegetables
- Avoid sugary, processed, and fried foods
- Eat fermented foods or take a probiotic
- Chew your food thoroughly
- Exercise regularly
- Consider a diet based on your bioindividuality
Maintaining hydration is not merely about survival. The body depends on water for eliminating toxins, absorbing nutrients, stimulating metabolism, maintaining healthy skin, and so much more. Chronic dehydration can lead to many symptoms and disease processes, including fatigue, constipation, headaches, high blood pressure, allergies, and depression.
Most of us are actually dehydrated to some extent. In fact, a 1998 study revealed that 3 out of 4 participants were chronically dehydrated. Survey results showed that caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and a high-sodium diet were the main culprits of dehydration.9 Because of this, it’s important to not only consider how much water you are getting, but also your diet and lifestyle factors that could be contributing to dehydration.
While dehydration can lead to a number of negative health issues, being hydrated can have a tremendous impact on your well-being. To ensure that you are staying as hydrated as possible, make sure to follow these tips every day:
- As a general starting point, drink at least half of your body weight of water in ounces
- Drink clean, pure water such as well water, spring water, or electrolyzed water
- Avoid water that comes in plastic bottles as much as possible
- Drink water 30 minutes before meals to assist digestion
- Eat electrolyte-rich, water-heavy foods such as watermelon, spinach, avocados, & soups/broths
- Avoid smoking and alcohol
- Reduce or eliminate sugar and caffeinated beverages
- Exercise regularly and make sure to rehydrate
While acute inflammation is the body’s natural response to infection or injury, chronic inflammation occurs when the body pumps out too many white blood cells. This faulty signaling from the immune system leads to a prolonged inflammatory response during which the white blood cells attack healthy tissues and organs.
In addition to a faulty immune response, the body’s inability to remove an agent causing acute inflammation, recurrent episodes of acute inflammation, exposure to irritants, and oxidative stress from biochemical inducers can also cause chronic inflammation.10
Recent research shows that chronic inflammation is an underlying cause of many disease processes, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.11 This means that if we can reduce and control inflammation in the body, we can reduce the odds of developing chronic diseases and even help the body heal from existing ones. Below are a few tips to help decrease inflammation and promote a healthy inflammatory response.
- Stay away from inflammatory foods such as processed foods, refined cards, fried foods, and sugar
- Eat vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and cabbage daily
- Consume anti-inflammatory fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, and grapes
- Add herbs to your diet, especially turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon
- Consider adding whole grains such as oatmeal and quinoa
- Get omega-3s from supplements as well as cold-water fish, walnuts, and flaxseeds
- Avoid smoking and alcohol (both are linked to chronic inflammation)12 13
- Work out for at least 20 minutes a day, 4 to 5 times a week (including 3 days of aerobic exercise)
- Consider these essential oils for inflammation
From relationships and money issues to demands on our time and much more, mental and emotional stress can come from a variety of sources. When the stress in our lives becomes excessive or we are unable to manage it effectively, disease can easily take root. And in fact, many health experts believe that stress is a co-factor in nearly all disease processes.14
Our stress response is regulated by the hypothalamus gland, which triggers the production of adrenalin. If the brain still perceives danger, the hypothalamus and other glands will eventually start releasing cortisol from the adrenals. While this reaction can help save us when a legitimate physical danger is present, it gets triggered far too often from the stressors in our modern environment. A frequent release of cortisol into the body is often what leads to physical and psychological problems.
In many cases, we can’t control the stressors in our lives. However, there are a variety of things we can do to help regulate our stress response so it isn’t constantly going into overdrive. A few of the best things you can do for your emotional and mental health are:
- Share your emotions rather than ignoring or suppressing them
- Do relaxation exercises such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga
- Exercise to reduce anxiety and trigger positive feelings
- Learn to say “no” when you realistically can’t handle something
- Focus on what you are grateful for with these gratitude exercises
- Get B vitamins from eggs, dark leaky greens, meat, and/or supplements
- Add prebiotics and probiotics from supplements or foods such as yogurt and sauerkraut
- Consider emotion-balancing herbs & oils like lavender, bergamot, & frankincense
- Add flower remedies to support specific emotional issues
Adequate sleep is critical to our overall health, as it allows the body to rest, regenerate, and heal. Unfortunately, studies have shown that as much as 50-60% of the population worldwide suffers from insomnia. 15 The inability to sleep through the night or get enough sleep in general contributes to chronic stress, which interferes with virtually all body functions and undermines homeostasis.
The body has an internal clock that regulates our sleep/wake cycle. This 24-hour body clock is known as our circadian rhythm. Artificial light and the use of electronic devices extend our wake cycle, commonly leading to lack of sleep. Other lifestyle factors such as consuming caffeine can easily disrupt our circadian rhythm.
To achieve and maintain optimal health and longevity, you need to get plenty of good quality sleep every night. Below are a few tips to follow to stay in tune with your body clock and prevent insomnia:
- Get regular exercise during the day
- Practice relaxation techniques to reduce stress
- Don’t eat dinner too close to bedtime
- Limit caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evening
- Remove digital devices (phone, TV, etc.) from your bedroom
- Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet bedroom
- See a professional to determine if you have sleep apnea
- Eat foods high in vitamin B6, calcium, & magnesium (spinach, yogurt, salmon, bananas, etc.)
- Take a melatonin supplement before bed
- Use sleep-promoting essential oils & herbs such as lavender, chamomile, and bergamot
A wide variety of toxins can enter the body through the air we breathe, our skin, and the foods we eat. Frequent exposure to common toxins such as pesticides, chemicals, and water contaminants can overwhelm our detoxification system, leading to significant health problems.
Many toxic substances are fat-soluble, making them difficult for our detoxification system to process and remove. The buildup of toxins in the body can cause a variety of acute conditions such as headaches, brain fog, and digestion problems, as well as chronic problems such as heart disease and depression.
Two areas to focus on when it comes to toxic stress are improving the body’s ability to detoxify and reducing our exposure to toxins. More specifically, here are a few steps to take in these critical areas:
- Drink pure water from a clean source (avoid tap and bottled water)
- Consume certified organic foods that are free of pesticides and insecticides
- Use natural, organic cleaning products
- Limit exposure to electronic devices
- Add potted plants and air purifiers to your home and/or workspace
- Eat detoxifying foods such as leafy greens, blueberries, lemons, and ginger
- Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and sugar
- Consider herbs that support detoxification including milk thistle & dandelion root
- Exercise daily and try lymphatic massage to keep your lymph moving
Determining which pillars need support
While it’s important to pay attention to all 10 pillars of health to improve and maintain well-being, there are likely areas that need more support than others. Additionally, the areas where the most support is needed will certainly change over time.
The ZYTO Balance scan and wellness reports help you determine which pillars may need additional support to bring the body into balance by ranking your body’s responses to various Virtual Items. After a Balance bioscan, the body’s energetic responses to each of these areas are displayed in the Wellness Report. Additionally, significant responses to items within each pillar are also displayed. This helps you individualize as well as prioritize wellness.
But ZYTO software goes beyond just showing the body’s energetic priorities. The Wellness Report, for example, also shows which products can help strengthen a pillar that may be weak energetically. It also supports considering each pillar from 3 important perspectives: functional, emotional, and energetic.
The Wellness Triad: 3 key perspectives for holistic health
Our functional, emotional, and energetic health make up what we call the ZYTO Wellness Triad. Considering each perspective of this triad in relation to the health pillar you are looking at can help you ask better questions and focus on the right areas. Here’s how ZYTO technology can assist you in considering these 3 areas so you can reach wellness goals more efficiently.
- Functionally, ZYTO helps you consider how various parts and systems within the body are impacting each other. Considering multiple data points helps you go beyond merely looking at symptoms.
- Emotionally, ZYTO helps you better understand the energetic connection between emotions and specific parts and systems of the body, so you can see how they may be impacting overall wellness.
- Energetically, ZYTO measures how the body responds to a variety of stressors and balancers. This data provides a leading-edge perspective because energy often leads and the rest of the body follows.
By looking at data from a ZYTO scan, we can identify patterns that correlate between these 3 areas. Furthermore, with EVOX perception reframing, we can greatly impact emotional health—which can often be the most important area of our overall well-being.
1. Suttie, Emma. “Loving Your Liver with Chinese Medicine.” Chinese Medicine Living. Chinesemedicineliving.com.
2. Anguelova, M., C. Benkelfat, & G. Turecki. “A systematic review of association studies investigating genes coding for serotonin receptors and serotonin transporter: I. Affective disorders.” Molecular Psychiatry 8, no. 6 (2003): 574-591.
3. Mazzoli, R., & E. Pessione. “The Neuro-endocrinological Role of Microbial Glutamine and GABA Signaling.” Frontiers in Microbiology 7 (2016): 1934.
4. Zelman, Kathleen M. “Fiber: How Much Do You Need?” WebMD LLC. Webmd.com.
5. “Hypothalamus.” Society of Endocrinology. Yourhormones.info.
6. Fields, Helen. “The Gut: Where Bacteria and Immune System Meet.” The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System. Hopkinsmedicine.org.
7. “Non-Organic Ingredients Provide Pathway for GMOs in Organic Foods.” The Organic & Non-GMO Report. Non-gmoreport.com.
8. Ostrenga, Stephanie. “Are you absorbing the nutrients you eat.” Michigan State University. Canr.msu.edu.
9. “6 Dehydration Facts That May Surprise You.” DripDrop Hydration, PBC. Dripdrop.com.
10. Pahwa, R. A. Goyal, P. Bansal, & I. Jialal. “Chronic Inflammation.” in StatPearls. (Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing, 2020).
11. Dubois, R.N. “The Jeremiah Metzger Lecture: Inflammation, Immune Modulators, and Chronic Disease.” Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association 126 (2015): 230-236.
12. Lee, J., V. Taneja, & R. Vassallo. “Cigarette Smoking and Inflammation.” Journal of Dental Research 81, no. 2 (2012): 142-149.
13. Wang, H.J., S. Zakhari, & M.K. Jung. “Alcohol, inflammation, and gut-liver-brain interactions in tissue damage and disease development.” World Journal of Gastroenterology 16, no. 11 (2010): 1304-1313.
14. Friedman, Joel. “Types of Stress and Their Symptoms.” MentalHelp.net. Mentalhelp.net.
15. Bhaskar, S., D. Hemavathy, & S. Prasad. “Prevalence of chronic insomnia in adult patients and its correlation with medical comorbidities.” Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care 5, no. 4 (2016): 780-784.