The concept of holistic health care, although principled in ancient healing traditions, has gained in popularity since the 1970s. The term “holism,” initially coined by Jan Christian Smuts early in the twentieth century, is defined as “a philosophy that views living organisms as different from, and greater than the sum of their parts.”
As traditional medicine evolved into a practice whereby specific health maladies could be treated with the latest discoveries in drugs or other technological advances, holistic practices went out the window. Much like taking a car to an automotive clinic, the widespread belief was that health issues could simply be “fixed,” no matter what their causes. Unhealthy lifestyles burgeoned in the wake of modern medical advances, as sources outside the body were blamed for the development of undesirable health outcomes.
Today, holistic traditions are alive and well, as societies have seen the health ravages brought about or aided by various lifestyle factors. Holistic health principals dictate that wellness is a daily process, brought about, or aggravated by everyday living choices. Holistic health practitioners espouse the concepts of prevention and development of high levels of well-being, while treating diseases or chronic conditions by accounting for the person as a whole.
The combined effect of heredity, quality of medical care and environment on human health is just over fifty percent. This leaves just less than half of health effects attributable to lifestyle decisions that we make during our lifetime. This means that although we may not be in complete control of the factors that affect our health, our own decisions are responsible for the largest portion of the state of wellness that we experience.
Body, mind, and spirit are health aspects to be taken into consideration, when designing a holistic treatment approach. Those who embrace holistic health principals must accept greater responsibility for their own health and well-being, than traditional medical patients. They must partner with their health care providers to create physical, mental and spiritual balance using holistic methods. Together doctor and patient will seek harmony in a variety of holistic health areas, including nutrition, environment and emotional, psychological and spiritual stability. Self-care is a vital component of successful holistic health care.
Holistic methodology focuses on the relationship between the underlying cause of the disease or condition, and its effects. Efforts are made to restore balance, or treat causation or symptoms, without the use of surgery or traditional drug therapies.
Holistic remedies may include:
Dietary changes, Medicinal herbs, Nutritional supplementation, Cleansing techniques, Massage, Acupuncture, Oxygen therapy and Homeopathic medicine
The use of holistic health techniques or remedies requires the patient to become adept at reading their body’s reaction to treatment. Trial and error may be involved in finding the best treatment. Responding to progress or lack of it is paramount in attaining optimal results.