Ever since as a young woman I first dipped my toe into the fascinating world of holistic therapies, when I sought out homoeopathy to treat my persistent hay fever, I’ve instinctively known it was my path.

Looking back now over quite a lot of years, I recognise nothing else was ever an option for me. My first cookbook was Margaret Fulton’s Wholefood Cooking and it’s still on my kitchen bookshelf. As I browse through its much thumbed pages, the grease spots give away my favourites and I remember my quiet joy in serving up Lentil Rissoles and Cheese and Onion Oat Flan for my beloved, thankfully a man open to experimentation! My first career choice was nutrition and I was very disappointed when I found I couldn’t find a way to travel to the one university then offering the course in Perth. Such physical limitations seem crazy now with so much accessible online. Financial limitations are another thing altogether. Acupuncture, massage, yoga, Tai Chi, naturopathy and meditation have all added richness to my life and, I strongly feel, good health and wellbeing as well.

The reason for my little trip down memory lane is the growing pressure that’s being brought to bear on this wonderful form of medicine. In a climate of cost cutting, anything holistic or alternative is seen as an easy target – to strip away rebates, to belittle asworthless or even more unconscionably as somehow dangerous, to devalue as “unscientific” in an official climate that appears to value only scientific rationalism.

So I’m delighted with our lead story for you this month – David Arenson’s “Respecting the Holistic Way”. David is a very thoughtful healer based in Perth who has also been drawn to the Eastern way, which, let’s face it, has sustained such societies as China, India and Japan over thousands of years. The Eastern approach is to see the whole person – hence holistic – and to focus on themaintenance of good health rather than focusing on curing whatever part of us has gone wrong, as we do in the West.

He, too, is very disturbed by what he calls the “rubbishing” of so many holistic therapies and points out, very astutely in my view, that spending vast sums on drug trials to profit major pharmaceutical corporations is not evidence that Qi Gong, for instance, practised in China for thousands of years for health and longevity, is worthless. As he says, “Lack of evidence is not evidence of lack.” Anyone who has ever done yoga will know that various poses are designed primarily to stimulate internal organs, the liver, pancreas, lungs, so they perform more efficiently and promote good health. Others develop strength and flexibility or simply bring us peace of mind, the perfect wellbeing “drug”. Clearly, the powers that be need a yoga class or two!

In this issue, too, Peter Dingle PhD gives us yet more incentive to take charge of our own health by focusing on nutrient density in our foods rather than counting calories. Weight control is a major issue, no one doubts that, but diets just don’t work. Peter tells us that foods that are the most nutritionally dense give us most nutrients for least calories, the best of both worlds. And, surprise, surprise, most are plant foods. You’ll find out more in “Bring Back Nutrients”.

Best wishes for a happy Easter and a bountiful month ahead.

Margaret Evans

Margaret Evans has a background in teaching, journalism and publishing. She is the editor of NOVA Holistic Journal.