Holistic health

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Holistic health (or holistic medicine) is a diverse field of alternative medicine[1] in which the "whole person" is focused on, not just the malady itself.[2]

Background and conceptual basis[edit]

The holistic concept in medical practice, which is distinct from the concept in the alternative medicine, upholds that all aspects of people's needs including psychological, physical and social should be taken into account and seen as a whole. A 2007 study said the concept was alive and well in general medicine in Sweden.[3]

Some practitioners of holistic medicine use alternative medicine exclusively, though sometimes holistic treatment can mean simply that a physician takes account of all a person's circumstances in giving treatment. Sometimes when alternative medicine is mixed with mainstream medicine the result is called "holistic" medicine, though this is more commonly termed integrative medicine.[2]

According to the American Holistic Medical Association it is believed that the spiritual element should also be taken into account when assessing a person's overall well-being.[4]


Holistic health is a diverse field in which many techniques and therapies are used.[2] Practitioners of alternative approaches may include many methods including colon therapy, metabolic therapy and orthomolecular medicine.[2]

Methods used by those in personal development include meditation, getting more physical exercise, eating healthier, more natural food, and other various habit changing practices that treat the core issues resulting in certain illnesses and ailments rather than the symptoms as most modern health practitioners tend to focus on in the treatment of their patients.[5]


There have been several published scientific studies that dispute the efficacy, beyond the placebo effect, of (alternative) holistic medicine in treating any known disease. The American Cancer Society recommends that if holistic medicine is to be used at all, it should be used only in conjunction with conventional medicine and not as a replacement.[2]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]