Holistic Medicine: Putting it all in context

If you accept the principle that a whole is more than its interdependent parts, you have a holistic worldview. If you view human health through this prism, you know that you cannot expect to achieve health by “fixing” a symptom in one part of the organism since that part connects to all the other parts in the whole and vice versa. Any diagnosis and treatment considers a diseased part in the context of the whole.


Thinking and observing in a context is the opposite of a western analytical approach that breaks the object of study down into smaller and smaller components, studying each part uniquely. Similarly western medicine studies and treats disease in isolated organs or locations. If a disease spreads through a body, the goal is to “isolate” the disease within boundaries, treat it there and hopefully eliminate it.


In ancient Chinese and Indian healing traditions, as far back as 5,000 years, the focus was on “living a healthy way of life in harmony with nature.” This vision broadens the holistic idea. A cell is part of an organ. An organ is part of a body. A body is part of a human being. A human being is part of a natural world. The natural world is part of a universe. And so it goes, with each world encased in another world and each world interdependent on the others.


While western medicine can treat diseases, without a holistic view, it is not as likely to find the cause of diseases since it isn’t viewing the multiple levels of context. Yes, western medicine can isolate and eradicate uncontrolled cell growth, or cancer, in an area of the body if it’s caught early enough. Western medicine has been late, though, to consider the state of the whole human being in relation to that particular outbreak of disease, or beyond that, the family environment, the community environment and the natural environment.


Holistic medicine is an approach that helps us understand human beings and disease differently. During the 20th century, western medical practice understood disease as an invasion by outsiders: germs, alien forces. Medicine focused on fighting off that invasion. Today, thanks to holistic medicine, we are more open to considering “the whole person and how he or she interacts with his or her environment…the connection of mind, body, and spirit.” Holistic medicine offers an option when western medicine finds its limits.


Basic Principles of Holistic Health
  • Interdependent parts make up any “whole.”
  • A whole person, including all of the parts, is constantly interacting with everything in the surrounding environment.
  • Health is more than just not being sick.
  • Holistic health is an ongoing process. Even when there are temporary setbacks, movement is always headed toward wellness.
Holistic practitioners “recommend treatments that support the body’s natural healing system and consider the whole person and the whole situation.” Holistic health is about more than absence of disease or treating disease. It “supports reaching higher levels of wellness as well as preventing illness.” Holistic medicine is the practice of “putting it all in context” to achieve superior wellness.


Our holistic family practice will help you live a healthy and pain-free life. We take your entire well-being into account as we develop a personalized health care plan with you.


Please contact us for more information about how you can achieve maximum wellness.