The word “holism” or “holistic” keeps finding it’s way into the marketing of healthcare practices, yoga classes, food stores, etc. But what does it really mean? Well, to define holism, we should first take a look at the way the word is sometimes spelled: “wholism”. This spelling reflects the meaning of the word. The definition of holism is “the theory that parts of a whole are in intimate interconnection, such that they cannot exist independently of the whole, or cannot be understood without reference to the whole, which is thus regarded as greater than the sum of its parts.”
One of the reasons I started this website was to spread the word about holistic practices. But what makes a physician or a food retailer holistic? A holistic approach to nutrition or medicine takes into account the interaction between all systems in the body and seeks to find solutions that are sustainable and target the root cause of the issue or disease as opposed to just the symptoms.
Unfortunately, the popular approach in Western medicine only takes into account one system of the body at a time, and too frequently does it only treat the symptoms of a disease rather than trying to cure the disease. The food that we eat is run more by profits of corporations than by what is actually good for the body. Holistic practitioners and food retailers are trying to change this as they are more concerned with giving our bodies proper medical care and nutrition.
If everyone could understand a holistic approach in the context of our bodies, perhaps we could also take a holistic approach to issues in our communities and society as a whole. The complex problems of poverty and healthcare, for example, are not going to be solved if we continue to fixate on one aspect of the issue and don’t step back to look at the entire picture.