Like most of us, I would call myself busy. As in, very busy. And, like most of us, I’ve often found myself struggling to balance my work, my personal life, and bodily health with varying degrees of success.
Dr. Jim Nicolai gets it. An integrative wellness specialist at Miraval, Nicolai frequently gives lectures to guests about healthy living (many of which I’ve attended). His new book, Integrative Wellness Rules: A Simple Guide to Healthy Living, was a read I knew would be valuable, particularly for those who intuitively know what “health and wellness” means but struggle with practical application in their everyday, busy lives.
In our conversation, we discussed what integrative wellness is, how it can transform both doctors and patients, and ways those living in Western society can use Eastern practices to become healthier.
Laura Cococcia: You practice “integrative wellness.” Can you say a few words on what this means and how it differs from traditional health care?
Dr. Jim Nicolai: Health and wellness are intertwined. I define health not as just “the absence of disease” but as wholeness, balance, and resilience. Wellness is the feeling you have when you are moving toward health or you in fact are there. Where health is the destination, wellness is the journey. But wellness is more than just a feeling; it’s a series of action strategies and tools that help you move closer to health. As an integrative physician and health coach, I help people develop those tools.
Integrative medicine is healing-oriented vs. disease-oriented. It focuses on people as more than physical bodies, but as mental, emotional, spiritual, social, even energetic beings. Where disease can occur from imbalances in these areas, my job is to help navigate people through the choices of using both conventional medicine and the best of the alternative practices to move them closer to health.