In the normal way of things, January’s welcome letter is pretty easy to write. It’s an upbeat celebration of the past year and a look forward to an even brighter future. We fill the magazine with features about building your best ever business and living your best life. This year, I could do that, but it would feel as inappropriate as a cheerleading squad at a funeral I know many of you will have had a difficult few months and it will be some time before your lives and businesses adapt fully and recover from the economic, physical and mental devastation that this tiny little organism has wreaked on our lives as individuals and part of society.
It’s our aim to support you in that journey. As an industry, we will need to rebuild. The question is what should we rebuild? I think the next few years may see a radical change in holistic therapy. At this moment, the evidence is fragmentary and difficult to read. Conflicting attitudes and statistics that suggest a sea change. It’s exemplified by a blog in a mainstream medical website because column I read that reference a journal paper saying people who believed on holistic therapies were more likely to believe in supernatural creatures like fairies and trolls. On this basis, holistic therapy practitioners were cast as charlatans, profiting from gullible halfwits. The study in question was old, small and took Finnish University students as its
subject pool. Yet belief in such creatures is a cultural construct for example, more than half of Iceland’s population believe in elves, but that does not mean that this belief precludes a belief in cars, chocolate or volcanoes. There is a consistent lobby which attacks us a s being unscientific, yet rarely holds itself to the standards it says we should conform to. Before the pandemic, we saw a growing interest in social prescribing and the acknowledgement that good nutrition and taking the time to listen to those suffering made a positive impact on health and wellbeing. We tend to think of our work as being a service, helping people become happier and healthier, but health and wellbeing is one of the biggest markets in the world in terms of value. Both India and China are exporting their traditional forms of medicine and healthcare models across the globe. China dominates in Africa, while India is colonising the Middle East. Naturally, Western Allopathic medicine isn’t planning to concede any territory and has started making inroads into the holistic field.
Whether this is the true start of an integrative, prevention focused approach to health and wellbeing, or a take over bid remains to be seen.
In the meantime, we must recognise that there are challenges ahead for us all, but we can, and must, shape our own futures and that of this industry. People will need our help more than ever and we must be allowed to be there for them.
Alison and everyone at Holistic Therapist x