Holism is from the Greek word holos, which means “all, whole, entire. Holism is a philosophy of life that relates to viewing the body and its properties as a whole system and not the sum of its parts. If you remember, the life wheel includes the physical, emotional, social, career, creativity, and family aspects of our life. These are the different properties of a whole person. The term holistic health and holistic medicine are often used interchangeably to describe a system of care that integrates all these properties and does not focus solely on the part of the body that is not well.
However , his is often not the case. The phrase holistic health is often misused. Many believe that if we use a complementary modality or an unconventional approach to an illness, we are being holistic. But we are still focusing on a single problem and not the whole person. Holistic health is not the type of modality, but rather the approach. In his article Holistic Health and Medicine in the 1980’s, David Teegarden, MD wrote
“In aiming to foster the natural healing process, holistic does not espouse to foster one method over another, but rather encompasses all safe methods of diagnosis and treatment-including medication and surgery, when appropriate”. He goes on the say “Patient and practitioner cooperate to achieve the desired results”.
There are many methods of healing we can learn from both Western and Eastern medicine. It is this collection of healing philosophies and practices that we should embrace and not exclude one over the other. As a holistic health seeker, it is our responsibility to create an effective pathway to health thatintegrates the whole person spiritually, physical, and emotionally.