Holistic health refers to a philosophy of medical care that views physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of life as closely interconnected and equally important approaches to treatment.
Holism as a health concept has existed for ages outside of academic circles, but only recently has the modern medical establishment begun to integrate it into the mainstream health care system.
In the United States, the first National Conference on was conducted by the Health Optimizing Institute with the university of California, San Diego School of Medicine in June 1975.
The general principle of holism was concisely summarized by Aristotle: "The whole is more than the sum of its parts."
The goal is a wellness that encompasses the entire person, rather than just the lack of physical pain or disease. It is not itself a method of treatment, but instead an approach to how treatment should be applied.
The traditional medical philosophy approach to patient care is treating the physical symptoms with drugs or surgery, while the patient is only passively involved.
In contrast, the holistic approach to patient care is expanded to encompass a broad spectrum of therapies coordinated to meet the totality of a particular individual.
The focus is no longer on just the disease, but the whole person. The role of the patient also changes in learning how choices, actions and attitudes affect the present condition, and how one can be an active participant in the healing process.
Advocates do subscribe to alternative medical practices such as Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Osteopathic manipulation, Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, Naturopathic medicine, Qi Gong, Reiki, and Reflexology.
Some of these alternative therapies do not originate from the western medical-scientific tradition, and have not received total acceptance by supporters of evidence-based medicine, who require rigorous scientific testing before incorporating them into a course of treatment. Although some treatments may prove effective from a holistic health perspective (that is, they improve the overall well-being of an individual).
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