History of Holistic Health
History of Holistic Health
Holistic medicine is a system of alternate medicine, which is a total approach to life both in physical and spiritual terms. It does not focus on the specific illness or parts of the body suffering from illness, but rather visualizes the body as a whole and views body as more than the sum of the parts. It tries to attain a perfect harmony by fostering a cooperative relationship among all those involved, leading towards optimal attainment of the physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health (i. e. it focuses on the whole person and takes in to account how he or she interacts).
When one part of the body is malfunctioning it disrupts all other parts of that person. This is comparable to the working of an automobile, if one part of the automobile engine malfunctions, it not only effects the working of the malfunctioning parts but causes wear and tear of the all the other related parts. The whole person, including all of the parts, is in constant interaction with the nature and the environment. In other words it was assumed that the body posses a natural tendency toward equilibrium, or homeostasis the maintenance, which is the key to good health.
The aim of holistic healing is to achieve maximum body function, where individual body parts are functioning the way they should function. Therefore it is no longer the sole responsibility of the healer to bring good health otherwise puts great responsibilities on the patient to achieve the maximum possible health and well-being. Therefore holistic health is not a static process but an ongoing process. It is heavily depend on personal commitment to be moving toward the right end of the wellness continuum.
Irrespective of their current status of health, any one can make marked improvement in the level of their well being by adopting the techniques of holistic health. Holistic medicine has its roots in several ancient healing traditions that stress healthy living and being in harmony with nature, originated in India and China about 5,000 years ago. The holistic healing practitioners propagated the idea of healthy way of living with nature. The great philosopher Socrates, who lived four centuries prior to Christ birth recognized this idea and has suggested that we should take body as a whole and not by part by part.
Plato was another advocate of Holism advising doctors that they should respect the relationship between mind and body. And the ability of the body to heal itself and caution the doctors not to interfere with the process was emphasized by Hippocrates. Jan Christiaan Smuts coined the term holism in 1926 as a way of living a whole life and viewing the body as greater than the sum of their parts which has given us the more integrated concept of psychosomatic medicine known as holistic medicine. “Holistic” became more recognized through 1970s to the current time and has become one of the accepted methods of alternative medicine.
While the application of the word holistic is comparatively recent, the opposing school of thought felt that the physician should actively intervene to conquer disease, much as a mechanic would fix a broken machine. This philosophical debate continued over the centuries, with neither side predominating until the scientific revolution of the 19th century. The discovery of effective antimicrobial agents by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch accomplished remarkable recoveries not previously possible. However, even during Pasteur’s time there were scientists who cautioned that the germ theory should be put in its proper context.
Claude Bernard, a noted physiologist of the time stated, “Illnesses hover constantly about us, their seeds blown by the wind, but they do not set in the terrain unless the terrain is ready to receive them. ” Pasteur and Bernard debated this point over the years, and it is revealing to note that on his deathbed Pasteur is reported to have said, “Bernard is right. The germ is nothing; the terrain all. ” While the holistic point of view acknowledges the importance of germs and disease, the primary focus is placed upon the resistance of the host.
Interestingly, it was only at the beginning of the twentieth century that the principles of holistic medicine fell out of favor in Western societies, with the advent of major advances in what we now call allopathic medicine. Paradoxically, many discoveries of the twentieth century have only served to confirm many natural medicine theories. In many cases, researchers have set out to debunk holistic medicine, only to find that their research confirms it, as has been the case, for example, with many herbal remedies.
When comparing holistic and allopathic, the definitions of health differ greatly in regard to the diagnosis and treatment of illness. However allopathic medicine is a system of medical practice that treats disease by the use of remedies that produce effects different from those produced by the disease under treatment and it is also called conventional medicine. People who use conventional medicine usually do not seek treatment until they become ill; there is little emphasis on preventive treatment.
Because they believe the main causes of illness are considered to be pathogens-bacteria or viruses-or biochemical imbalances. Drugs, surgery, and radiation are scientific tests often used in diagnosis or in dealing with the problems. Holistic medicine, in the other hand, concentrate on preventing illness and maintaining health. Good health is seen as a balance of body systems – mental, emotional, and spiritual, as well as physical. All aspects of a person are seen as interrelated – a principle called holism, meaning “state of wholeness. ” Any disharmony is thought to stress the body and perhaps lead to sickness.
In the process of fighting disease a wide range of therapies is use as alternative medicine to bolster the body’s own defenses and restore balance. The best example illustrating this approach is the fact that ancient Chinese doctors were paid only when their patients were healthy, not if they became ill. Although allopathic medicine does not recognize that many physical symptoms have mental components (such as emotional stress which may lead to an ulcer or chronic headaches) its approach is generally to suppress the symptoms, both physical and psychological.
While holistic method, views illness and disease, as an imbalance of the mind and body that is expressed on the physical, emotional, and mental levels of a person. Natural medicine, which follows holistic aproch, assesses the symptoms as a sign or reflection of a deeper instability within the person, and it tries to restore the physical and mental harmony that will then alleviate the symptoms.
Knowing fully well that holistic medicine recognizes that the human body is highly equipped to resist disease and heal injuries. But when disease does occurs, or an injury occurs, the first instinct in holistic healing is to see what might be done to strengthen those natural resistance and healing agents so they can act against the disease more effectively. Results are not expected to occur overnight. But neither are they expected to occur at the expense of dangerous side effects.
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 22 September 2016
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