Art for Integrative Health

Integrative Health: What, Why and How?

Especially now, in the face of the new global challenges, we need to apply and promote a healthy and hygienic lifestyle, not only to face the new spreading disease but also in order to sustainably improve the quality of our lives in the future. Regardless of the current developments, SEKEM chose integrative health promotion as the main topic for the first half of 2020 and is working on it from various perspectives. Integrative medicine and health is one of 18 goals from the SEKEM vision for 2057.



What makes a healthy lifestyle?

To answer this question, one needs to define the meaning of health first. While most consider the body when addressing health, the fact remains that there is way more to it. For health and well-being; the mind and the soul also need to be looked after. We know that our behavior can seriously affect our health. There is a direct link between our thoughts and feelings with our physical body. Some might feel ill or gain a fever when sad or stressed while happiness can contribute a great deal towards one’s well-being or even recovery. This is where integrative health comes in.

Integrative health as a lifelong choice 

Integrative health wants to encourage people to take charge of their life and health and be one with themselves. They should feel as responsible for their well-being as much as they trust their doctor! By being aware and alert to our body, mind and spirit, we become able to identify any occurring changes or developing symptoms much better. Hence, we are able to develop strategies and changes in our lifestyle to restore our balance. And we can report much better and clearer on how we feel which helps to adapt treatments more precise and individually. When integrating the physical, mental, psychological and social dimensions in your perception, we can truly start to unfold our full potential and strengthen our health. 

Serving one another in a holistic community

But it is not only us, affecting our well-being. Of course, also our surroundings are contributing to our health. Acknowledging the importance of what our body consumes and its effect on our general health, we realize that the farmer plays a role in our well-being, alongside artists who nurture our emotions, or educators who feed our brain and thereby shape our perception.

Although the most familiar aspects of health are our diet and exercise, yet nutrition and physical fitness alone do not make a healthy individual. 

The Core Program and well-being

SEKEM has developed the Core Program which regularly offers all employees not only cultural activities, but also workshops on social issues or health aspects Founder Ibrahim Abouleish was always concerned about the role of humans on earth and the purpose in life; he used to say: “We have come to plant the seeds, develop the earth and serve one another.” Based on this enrooted belief, SEKEM’s founder always perceived each of his employees as the individuals they are, and believed that everyone is created with a divine energy or light, and it is up to us to let it shine. To him, everyone had a hidden gem in them, and he took it upon himself to help uncover as many as he could.

SEKEM's Core Program

The Core Program wants to help to uncover these gems, that is, the individual potential. The arts not only serve for entertainment, but also help to establish one’s notion of their self, forms of expression and self-identification and to express different needs. When an employee was asked why he thought the core program was important, he replied: “I am not a machine and I am more than what my job title says. That’s why I appreciate having the Core Program, as it shows me that people believe in me and my potential and know that I am more than my job.”

The Core Program for Factory Workers

Ibrahim Abouleish, who had a doctorate in pharmacy himself, had an integrative understanding of health and tried to promote it in the various activity fields of SEKEM. Today, it became the mission of the SEKEM community to further develop this approach and not only apply it more specifically within the framework of the SEKEM vision for 2057, but also to make it tangible for other initiatives in the country. The medical center on the SEKEM Farm has taken over the coordination and tries to mediate in different ways in the companies, schools and surrounding villages that an interaction of mind, soul and body is essential for healthy and happy people.

Nadine Greiss

Responsibility, Opportunity and Optimism
Read SEKEM's Vision Goals for 2057
Culture in the Desert: Eurythmy for Farm Employees