“Holistic Health is actually an approach to life. Rather than focusing on illness or specific parts of the body, this ancient approach to health considers the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment. It emphasizes the connection of mind, body, and spirit. The goal is to achieve maximum well-being, where everything is functioning the very best that is possible. With Holistic Health people accept responsibility for their own level of wee-being, and everyday choices are used to take charge of one’s own health.
“Ancient healing traditions, as far back as 5,000 years ago in India and China, stressed living a healthy way of life in harmony with nature. Socrates (4th century BC) warned against treating only one part of the body “for the part can never be well unless the whole is well.” Although the term holism was introduced by Jan Christiaan Smuts in 1926 as a way of viewing living things as “entities greater than and different from the sum of their parts,” it wasn’t until the 1970s that holistic became a common adjective in our modern vocabulary.
“The principles of Holistic Health state that health is more than just not being sick. A common explanation is to view wellness as a continuum along a line. The line represents all possible degrees of health. The far left end of the line represents premature death. On the far right end is the highest possible level of wellness or maximum well-being. The center point of the line represents a lack of apparent disease. This places all levels of illness on the left half of the wellness continuum. The right half shows that even when no illness seems to be present, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
“Holistic Health is an ongoing process. As a lifestyle, it includes a personal commitment to be moving toward the right end of the wellness continuum. No matter what their current status of health, people can improve their level of well-being. Even when there are temporary setbacks, movement is always headed toward wellness.
“While preventing illness is important, Holistic Health focuses on reaching higher levels of wellness. The right half of the wellness continuum invites people to constantly explore which everyday actions work for them and discovering what is appropriate to move them toward maximum well-being. People are motivated by how good it feels to have lots of energy and enthusiasm for life, knowing that what they are doing that day will allow them to continue to feel this great for years to come.
“When disease and chronic conditions do occur, the Holistic Health principles can also be applied. The term is usually changed to holistic medicine, and additional factors are added. The healthcare professionals using the holistic approach work in partnership with their patients. They recommend treatments that support the body’s natural healing system and consider the whole person and the whole situation.”
— Excerpts From the American Holistic Health Association