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Holism, Naturalism, Inclusive Care...




The following is an excerpt from an article by Suzan Walter, President of the American Holistic Health Association. It provides a quick introduction to the two main definitions of the term holistic as it is used in today's society. Are you confused about the meaning of holistic? Have you ever been discussing holistic health and discovered that the other person was defining holistic in a totally different way than you? This is not surprising, since there are no accepted standard definitions for holistic, holistic health, or holistic medicine. Most usage falls within two common definitions:

  • Holistic as a whole made up of interdependent parts. You are most likely to hear these parts referred to as 1) the mind/ body connection, 2) mind/ body/ spirit, or 3) physical/ mental/ emotional/ spiritual aspects. When this meaning is applied to illness, it is called holistic medicine and includes a number of factors, such as 1) dealing with the root cause of an illness, 2) increasing patient involvement, and 3) considering both conventional (allopathic) and complementary (alternative) therapies.

  • Holistic as a synonym for alternative therapies. By this definition, "going holistic" means turning away from any conventional medical options and using alternative treatment exclusively. This meaning mainly relates to illness situations, and sometimes is used for controversial therapies. 

The previous article was sent to me by another pet stylist as interested in caring for her clients as I am.  And we are not alone, more and more of today's grooming professionals are realizing that as petstylists, we have an important role to fill as part of the extended family of pet caregivers.
More groomers are taking aim at putting themselves in the position to nurture professional relationships with their clients by offering care that always needed that attention, but was often left out because of the hectic or busy environment of the grooming salon.  Part of this progressive change is taking shape because more and more groomers are realizing that working smarter is not working harder.  The physicality of grooming needs to be offset in some way to provide longevity for petstylists and their careers.  These new opportunities are surfacing in many ways as part of the upward industry trend towards more spa type salons and services, more slow paced and well planned grooming salon procedures, client educational classes, nutrition counceling, the use of more natural products and an opening of the door to professional courtesy and interaction with veterinarians.
I have always felt that there is a lot of good that can be done for our clients by offering them as natural and inclusive care as we can during their visits and by remembering that we are part of a larger picture- a very important part.  Educating pet owners as much as possible during their visits for grooming about issues we see with their pet has never had anything to do with trends or making profit, but what it does have at its core is compassion and a sense of the bigger picture.  Gaining knowledge to help treat the minor issues that arise only ensures patronage from clients and your business future.  What is does stimulate is a better professional relationship with your clients, more consideration of your ability and professional care, and gained confidence of self when we know that because we care about the animals we treat, we are better to care for them. 
Be it personality or training concerns, nutrition and how it benefits and affects health and longevity, skin and coat, signals or symptoms that we find during grooming that may have a medical issue behind them, all of these things that we encounter any given day while at work, are opportunities for us to go above and beyond and support the life quality of our pet clients and their families.
This comprehensive care benefits us as we realize that we can also do such good for ourselves by challenging our current knowledge and considering the fact that we have a chance every day to make a difference and start positive change.  Learning more ourselves starts a chain reaction of learning, sharing and possible change.  And even if the care we give goes no further than to the immediate pet that we care for, there still is no real loss there, as we are the only ones deciding whether or not to give that care. 
I say give the extra time, give the extra knowledge, and by all means give that part of yourself that wants to consider those things outside of the average or the norm.  The rewards are immense, and the return comes in ways that are meaningful- not so much as profit, but pride and progression.


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