What is ‘holistic’?

Nowadays a lot of places offer services like holistic health, holistic medicine, holistic healing, holistic care, and so on. Some people tend to follow this new trend while some others think that anything to do with holistic has not been proven effective. When people hear the word ‘holistic healing’ they may think of alternative healing, energy healing, spiritual healing, or anything not related to drugs and medicine. This is NOT always true. So what’s the exact definition of holistic?

In terms of medical use, here’s the definition of holistic according to Oxford dictionary:

ho·lis·tic (MEDICINE)

characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease.

Here’s another definition by Merriam-webster dictionary:

Holistic (medicine)

relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts <holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body> <holistic ecology views humans and the environment as a single system>

There are similarities in both definitions, that holistic medicine treats BOTH the physical symptoms of the body AND the mind of the patient (mental, social, well-being).

To make it clearer, here’s an example:

If someone has chronic migraine, from medical point of view treating the migraine will solve the problem and the person will be back to normal health condition, which is not wrong. But from holism point of view, the migraine has caused stress, hence treating the symptom only will heal the person’s physical body but doesn’t eliminate the stress it has caused. In holistic healing, BOTH the migraine and the stress will be treated and the person will be back to its healthy condition, both physically and mentally healthy.

Holistic healing means we treat both the symptoms (from medical approach) and the well being (from psychological approach).

By providing holistic veterinary service it does not mean I can treat your pets’ symptoms solely on alternative approach, nor can I treat solely on medical approach. I diagnose and treat the symptoms using my knowledge in veterinary science and balance their mind using psychology approach. There’s nothing psychic in holistic, it’s a COMBINATION of medicine and psychology.

“In a world of specialization, we have been trained to think of medicine as a separate world—when we are sick, we go to doctors and follow their advice. This is starting to change, with the increasing popularity of alternative and holistic approaches to overall health and well-being.” —Gareth Cook,Boston Globe, 9 June 2002

So now when you hear the word ‘holistic’, what impression do you have about this healing method?

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