Unpacking "Whole Body Health"

Unpacking "Whole Body Health"

 

The way in which we support any wellness journey here at Ancient + Brave is to focus on what we refer to as whole body health’. But what does it mean to view health this way? We sat down with our Head of Innovation Dr Jenna Macciochi and Head of Nutrition Jo Woodhurst, to delve into this holistic view which bucks the trend of conventional approaches and learn how to weave it into our daily lives. 

 

 

Q: Jenna, ‘whole body health’ feels like a huge concept to grasp, can you summarise what it means to Ancient + Brave? 

Jenna: We use this phrase to refer to a holistic and comprehensive approach to our well-being that takes into account the interconnectedness between all the various aspects of our health (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual). What’s special about it is how it honours the synergy between all the different body systems, rather than focusing solely on specific symptoms or isolated areas of the body in conventional medical practices. 

 

 

 

 

Q: How has this changed over time? 

Jo: The idea of ‘whole body health’ is in no way a brand new concept. Track back a few thousand years and some of the most influential traditional medicine practices took a holistic approach to health, understanding the deep connection not only of all the body’s systems but also how the mind and our natural environment affect the body. It's acknowledging that a healthy practice has a ripple effect of benefits across the whole body. As modern medicine advanced and we became specialists in different areas, from skin specialists to gastroenterologists, we lost touch with how one part of the body affects another. 

 

Holistic medicine is all about believing in the importance of healing the entire person instead of the specific illness or symptom. This isn’t to say you have to make a choice between following a holistic health path or using modern medicine! There is a lot we can be thankful for in the medical advances we have made over the last century. These practices and approaches can be and should be used alongside each other. 

 

 

Q: So, it’s like a 360-degree approach to health? Could this be a little overwhelming for people to focus on everything at once? 

Jo: It’s about breaking it down into ‘pillars’ of whole body health and ensuring you aren’t ignoring one area over another. For example, if someone has gut issues and they are focusing solely on finding and removing trigger foods or changing their diet, but they are also incredibly stressed, exercising excessively and not sleeping, then they simply won’t get the results they’re looking for. Now, if that same person made a couple of tweaks to their nutrition but also put in some stress-management practices, got to bed earlier and dialled down their HIIT classes for a yoga class now and again, they are acknowledging that the nervous system and gut are deeply interconnected and that sleep is vital for healing. It means taking a step-back and viewing yourself in the bigger picture. 

 

 

Q: And what are the ‘Pillars’? 

Jo: The Pillars of whole body health at Ancient + Brave have been laid out for us by our ancestors. We focus on; 

 

  • Nourishment 
  • Movement + Challenge 
  • Mind + Ritual 
  • Sleep + Rest 
  • Nature + Natural Cycles (e.g. seasons, biorhythms) 
  • Community  

 

When you look at your own lifestyle or health habits, you should be aiming to have a few practices in each area. It’s good to take a little look at each area and notice if you have neglected anything, make some tweaks and gently bring in some balance. Some people may find they excel in the movement and challenge area spending hours in the gym and plunging into cold showers, but haven’t taken a walk in nature for weeks. Reflect, review and rebalance. 

 

Jenna: Whole body health is also extremely efficient! The practices within the pillars don’t just have one benefit, they have several, so essentially you get more bang for your buck. For example, daily habits like regular physical activity will have multifunctional benefits like bolstering the mind-body connection and supporting our mental health as well as our physical health,  and vice versa.

 

 

Q: How does this work in the world of supplementation? Does this fit into the ‘nourish’ pillar?

Jenna: A healthy, balanced, minimally-processed diet is of course foundational to whole body health. Supplementing your diet with multifunctional supplements can be a great way to support whole body health too. Many traditional supplements are breaking free from their conventional associations.  This trend signifies a paradigm shift as we understand more about the interconnectedness of the human body and understand more on the potential applications of certain compounds beyond their initial niches. 

 

For example, supplementing with hydrolysed collagen peptides is often considered to be a key player in the beauty realm, supporting the health of skin, nails and hair.  But the reality is that supplementing with collagen peptides can support so many aspects of our health. 

 

 

Collagen is a hard-working, structural protein found abundantly in our bodies. It is a key player in the integrity of our skin, joints, bones and all the connective tissues that keep us together. As we age, our natural collagen production declines.  This leads to many of the common signs and symptoms of ageing such as wrinkles. Type 1 Collagen peptides have been shown to promote skin hydration, elasticity and a radiant complexion. But this leads to so much more than aesthetics. It can help us feel confident and comfortable in our skin, whatever our age. Our skin is also essentially a ‘barrier’, the first line of defence for our immune system, protecting our body from the outside world. Creating a strong, supple structure has a functional aspect as well as aesthetic. 

 

Then as we track deeper, collagen is also a vital component of all our connective tissues, cartilage bone structure and muscle function, and so collagen supplements are also an excellent choice as a foundation for maintaining multiple aspects of health and supporting an active lifestyle, especially as we age. Benefits include reduced joint stiffness, improved gut health, reduced exercise recovery time, easing symptoms of menopause and more. Active lifestyles also have a knock on effect on our wellbeing.  Collagen supplements help repair the lining of the digestive tract, promoting gut integrity and optimal nutrient absorption. Surprisingly, collagen supplementation also benefits cognitive function, supporting mental clarity, focus and overall brain health. All of these aspects can impact the overall quality of life and harmony between all body and mind. Working from within, this is why collagen is a game-changer for whole body health. One ingredient with multiple effects across our whole body. 

 

Ancient and Brave's commitment to whole body health runs through all aspects of our core values and commitment to creating pure, potent and sustainable supplements. Our supplements all have an element of ‘whole body health’ and integrate seamlessly into the ethos of our ‘Brave Lifestyle’ helping you embrace the pillars or health which all contribute to whole body health. 

 

Jo: It’s also why we love to use botanicals, herbs and adaptogens in our blends. Not only is this a nod to the respect we have for the ancient wisdom of past holistic practices, but the compounds found in natural plants often have a synergistic and multi-functional effect on the body. Ashwagandha for example is best known for reducing stress and anxiety but science is showing that it may also improve blood sugar balance, increase muscle strength and potentially improve reproductive health. 

 

It’s a mind-shift for sure when you are used to looking at your symptoms or health goals and trying to figure out that one ‘magic pill’ or silver bullet which will target one very specific thing, and yet when you start to accept and acknowledge the beauty and complexity of our wonderful bodies and start to personalise each pillar to access ‘whole body health’, it’s a game-changer. 

 

Jenna: Absolutely! In a world saturated with health trends and quick fixes, the notion of whole body health emerges as a guiding light, reminding us to embrace the profound interconnectedness of our physical, mental, and emotional states. 

 

 

 

 


 

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