What Does Holistic Mean?

To put it simply, the whole idea of holistic medicine is to focus on the big picture and look at an individual as a whole person including their physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health.

Holistic vs Wholistic – Which is Correct?

Technically both holistic and wholistic can be used interchangeably according to both Merriam-Webster and Grammarist.   They both derive from the Greek word holos, which means whole.

However, even automatic spell check will agree that “holistic” is by far a more popular spelling of the term.

What is Holistic Medicine?

According to WebMD, “Holistic medicine is a form of healing that considers the whole person — body, mind, spirit, and emotions — in the quest for optimal health and wellness. According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health — the primary goal of holistic medicine practice — by gaining proper balance in life.”

Traditional Western medicine tends to compartmentalize the body and focuses more on physical symptoms to treat illness or disease.  There is a heavy reliance in this health care system on the pharmaceutical industry. Since many prescription medications can cause uncomfortable side effects and may not always resolve the root cause, many people have begun to seek other options and have discovered a more natural or holistic approach to their health.

Due to the increasing popularity of holistic treatments, National Institutes of Health recently issued a fact sheet to help clarify some commonly used terms.  Specifically they use the term “alternative medicine” if a more natural treatment used is instead of a mainstream conventional treatment method.  They use the term “complementary” if a holistic remedy is used together in conjunction with Western medicine.

Types of Holistic Treatments

The term holistic is fairly broad and encompasses a wide range of treatment methods.  Although not a definitive list, some of the more popular holistic treatments are listed below.

Acupressure
Acupuncture
Aromatherapy
Ayurveda
Biofeedback
Chiropractic
Crystal healing
Cupping
Dietary Changes
Herbal Remedies
Homeopathy
Hypnotherapy
Massage
Meditation
Nutritional Supplements
Naturopathy
Pilates
Spiritual Counseling
Qigong
Reflexology
Reiki
Therapeutic Touch
Traditional Chinese medicine
T’ai chi
Yoga

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