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Monday, September 04, 2006

Eight Principles of Holistic Health

The eight basic principles of holistic health include the following:
1. Health requires the integration of mind, body, and spirit.
2. Positive wellness rather than the absence of symptoms is the main goal of health care.
3. Everyday living habits are the basis of health.
4. The individual must affirm personal responsibility for their own health.
5. Illness provides an opportunity for growth.
6. Environmental factors play a major role in individual health.
7. All modalities of healing...ancient or modern....deserve scientific exploration and should be used when appropriate.
8. The inner capacity for health is the foundation for achieving positive wellness.
Drawing on these basic concepts, several themes emerge. Beginning with the definition of health which is seen not as the ultimate goal within itself but rather a precondition necessary for the attainment of other goals, and not as an end product but rather a process or a condition, it is possible to observe various sociological and theoretical foundations underlying the revived interest in holistic health. For example, the concept of four types of persons:
1. Type one-well adjusted physically and emotionally.
2. Type two-well adjusted psychological but poor physical health. Can adjust due to good coping/adaptation abilities.
3. Type three-seemingly health but have poor adaptation/coping skills
4. Type four-poor health and poor adaptation/coping skills.
The role of health promotion become vital in the utilization of scarce resources and manpower, in order to achieve maximum productivity and health. It is possible to intervene on a psychosocial level with dramatic effects upon individual health.
Another example is the work of Renee’ Dubois who defines health a sense of balance or equilibrium that results from mans adaptation to his environment. Once again, health is not seen as a static state but a process by which an individual can grow or modify themselves, not only for the present but to prepare for the future. In this view, the state of health or disease is considered an expression of the success or failure of the organism in its effort to respond and adapt to environmental challenges.
The systems view of health is another framework from which to view the role of each individual within society and their ability to adapt/cope and grow. Whichever framework chosen, it is necessary to practice holistically in order to maintain health. This means the attitudes, behavior, and physical functioning necessary to ensure continued health or to treat disease. Current health status indicates lack of health is often based on behavioral patterns or activities. Examples can be found in epidemiological studies showing a decline in viral disease deaths but a rise in cardiovascular disease and other behavioral health risk. Also, tracking immigration and disease statistics demonstrates the rise of these same behavioral diseases once a given population takes on the predominant cultural risk factors. Given this type of data, it is concluded that a change in the patterns of disease/diseases of adaptation can result from behavioral interventions. Finally, the satisfaction level of the current practice of healthcare is not high. Despite modern medicines ability to intervene in the disease state, little has been done to prevent the occurrence of the disease in the first place. Also, medicine often fails to account for quality of life issues and the side effects of the treatment. As individuals take more responsibility for their own health, holistic health has increased.

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