“Holistic” is the health industry’s new buzzword, most often associated with Alternative medicine, the new buzz phrase. The status of the word “holistic” has made it victim to advertisers and marketers, who are attaching it to everything under the sun. They know holistic is one of those words that instantly “validates” a product or service. I remember at the height of the no fat craze, going into the supermarket and seeing pretzels packaged with No Fat boldly printed on the labels. Pretzels have always been one of the least fat filled foods you could find. “Organic” began popping up on packaging during the height of the natural foods craze. The problem was and in some ways still is, each company had its own definition of organic. And now I see the same thing happening with the word “Holistic”. A consumer sees “Holistic” in the product name or description and buy it thinking the product is somehow better. When asked what “holistic” is, very few can answer correctly.
Synergistic – when parts work together for the benefit of the whole
In simplest terms holistic is the synergistic relationship of parts of a whole. So the term can be applied to any system, whether it be mechanical, electronic, a business, or health. Since I am in the health business I will speak about “holistic” in health terms. Be aware I am simplifying for the sake of time and space.
Holistic is as much a concept, as it is a practice.
Our overall wellness is determined by the state of our Spiritual (emotional) being, along with the state of our Mental being and our Physical being. If the Spirit, Mind, or Body is not well then our overall wellness is not at ease (dis-ease). In order to relieve the dis-ease of our wellness, we must receive holistic treatments. These treatments are actually a system or group of treatments that seek to affect the three elements of being, Spirit, Mind, and Body. A good example of this is (can be) aromatherapy, which through the application of essential oils effects the physical being. At the same time the aroma “can” be soothing to the soul. A good therapist will take the time to speak with the ailing person, asking pertinent questions about their health and explaining what the treatment is expected to do. A caring nature is important for any therapist to have.
Sometimes the holistic treatment can not be provided in one location or by one therapist. In that case in order for the treatment to be considered holistic, each therapist working with a client must be aware of what the other therapist(s) is/are doing. The therapies must be carried out synergistically.
Holistic, in terms of health, means taking into consideration the three elements of the being, Spirit, Mind and Body, when attempting to regain or maintain an optimal state of Well-being. Any meditation or mind set training, by itself is not holistic. Any food by itself is not holistic, any exercise by itself is not holistic.
A holistic state is only achieved when all three elements of the being are being addressed.