HEALTHY BITE | Thinking Holistically: Something We All Need to Engage With

HEALTHY BITE | Thinking Holistically: Something We All Need to Engage With


In this Healthy Bite episode, Dr Ron Ehrlich talks about what it means to look at things in a holistic way – thinking holistically.

What comes to your mind when you hear the word: HOLISTIC? It’s such an interesting word, bandied around a lot. It conjures up all sorts of unusual connotations. Tune in to Dr Ron in conversation with Prof Frédéric Leroy.

Dr Ron talks about what a holistic dentist is

Our practice in the city of Sydney is called the Sydney Holistic Dental Centre. The most common question asked is: What is a holistic dentist?

A holistic dentist approaches a patient as a whole person. This may sound obvious but actually needs to be said because we are in a health care system where we are increasingly exposed to more and more specialities.

Dentistry is a speciality in itself, focusing on the oral cavity. Even within this narrow field, there are specialists that focus on gums, they are called Periodontists. There are specialists that focus on the nerve inside a tooth, who are called Endodontists; root canal specialists, there are oral surgeons, there are orthodontists, there are children’s dentists… specialists called paediatric dentists.

Embracing a Holistic Approach

Having a holistic approach, also means I am exposed to practitioners who also have a holistic approach. My own cardiologist is certainly very integrative, and holistic. He doesn’t call himself holistic, but he’s a very holistic practitioner. There are many practitioners that don’t carry the word around on their professional title but do think very holistically. (I’m not pretending if you don’t call yourself a holistic practitioner, you aren’t holistic.)

The word ‘holistic’ is something we should take very seriously. If you don’t consider you’re thinking very holistically or you’re not really clear about what holistic means, consider this… Stand in front of a mirror, ideally a full-length mirror. Stop and pause and just look at yourself, because before you stands THE best example of something holistic that you could possibly imagine.

You are not just a mouth, you are not just a set of lungs. You are not just the heart or a digestive system, joints, bones, whatever. You are a whole body, a whole person. Everything you see in front of you, all 40 trillion cells, that make up your body, including your mind are working to keep you in balance, and hopefully healthy.

Understand How the Whole System Works

We need to understand how the whole system works, as well as how we interact with the world around us and decide what impacts us positively, or negatively to have a really good appreciation of how things can go wrong and how things can improve.

On the other hand, if what you are interested in is the symptomatic relief of whatever you’ve shown up at the doctor’s surgery for, then don’t worry. There’s a whole industry there waiting to greet you with open arms and a prescription pad to manage the problem(!) It’s what makes the pharmaceutical industry a US$1.2 trillion/year industry! It is a great economic model, driving huge profits for the chemical food, pharmaceutical and medical industry, but if the evidence is anything to go by, it’s not a very good model for health.

If you’re interested in how to get better and why you are suffering from whatever ‘dis-ease’ you’ve been diagnosed with, then taking a holistic approach is an important concept.

‘Holistic’ is Not a New Age Philosophy

Holistic – is just the way the body works and it is also the way the planet works. If we want to make our individual, our community’s health and our planetary’s health better, then thinking holistically is an important concept to embrace.

Please enjoy this engaging conversation Dr Ron had with Allan Savory who has written the book on Holistic Management and who has been an inspiration to Dr Ron since he was first introduced to him 15 years ago. The similarities between holistic health and the holistic management of any resource are fascinating. And also Professor Frédéric Leroy. Frédéric is in Brussels and he has a background in Science, Biotechnology and Microbiology