What does a holistic approach mean?

In general terms, having a holistic approach means looking at something as a whole entity; understanding the bigger picture. In healthcare, a holistic approach means to provide support that looks at the whole person, not just their specific need at the time. It considers their physical, mental, emotional and social wellbeing.

According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health – the primary goal of holistic medicine practice – by gaining proper balance in life.

Practitioners believe that the whole person is made up of interdependent parts and if one is not working properly, all the other parts will be affected. So, if people have imbalances in their lives e.g. physically or emotionally, it can negatively affect their overall health.

History of holistic therapy

Clinical holistic medicine dates as far back as Hippocrates. It was also suggested by Percival in his book – the first textbook of medical ethics, first published in 1803. Percival stated: “The feeling and emotions of the patients require to be known and to be attended to, no less than the symptoms of their diseases.”

Types of treatments in a holistic approach

Holistic practitioners use a variety of treatment techniques to help their patients achieve optimal health. These may include:

  • Patient education on lifestyle changes and self-care to promote wellness. This can include diet, exercise, counselling, and more.
  • Alternative therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy, naturopathy, Bowen therapy and lymphatic drainage.

For example, when a person suffering headaches pays a visit to a holistic therapist, instead of walking out only with medication, the doctor will look at all the potential factors that might be causing the headaches, such as other health problems, diet and sleep habits, and personal problems. The treatment plan may work alongside any medication that the person has been prescribed by their doctor.

Although holistic health has been around for years, it’s a fresh concept to many. But it’s increasing in popularity worldwide and has been strongly advocated by the Royal College of General Practitioners for many years. If you are someone who has a health condition it might be time to have a chat with your local holistic therapist. Please get in touch to find out more.