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A Definition of Holistic Health

What is the definition of holistic health?
It is the unified connection to the entirety our being: our whole body, our emotions, our mind and our spirit, dynamically in balance.

Holistic health is based on the model of viewing our health through the lens of who we are as a whole person rather than the parts of who we are as a human body. Through viewing ourselves as "whole" or "holistic" we can better understand how these parts or aspects of ourselves work both individually and in support of our wholeness. Together, our wholeness is greater than the parts alone. These aspects of our wholeness are:

  • Our body
  • Our mind
  • Our emotions (also called "heart")
  • Our spirit

Wholeness as body, mind, emotion/heart and spirit is central to the definition of holistic health.

What is the meaning of the word "holistic"?
Holistic comes from the word "holism". Holism comes from the Greek work ὅλος or holos. Holos means all, entire, complete.

Holistic health are written in human history
The value of wholeness is a key ingredient to our personal growth and health. It dates back to 5,000 B.C.E. in the healing traditions of China and India. In ancient Greece, Hippocrates recognized and shared that many factors contribute to the health of a human being. Socrates in the 4th B.C.E. "warned that treating one part of the body only would not have good results."

The yearning to understand the totality of what it is to be human is natural. We are unlikely to identify each other as just an arm, a big toe, a specific emotion or an "aha" moment. We are much more than these individual parts alone yet these aspects, together, provide an integrity that births a deeper sense of what it means to be complete and whole.

A self-care moment. Try this:

How is your holistic health care?

A wellness wheel can give a present snapshot of how well you are aware of your body, mind, soul and heart working together. Unified.

It provides the initial step in holistic education and helps you apply this holistic health definition. There are many different kinds of wellness wheels.

We are whole. There is an innate wholeness within each individual person and this the essential ingredient for any definition of holistic health. We have aspects that work together in support of this wholeness. Holistic health is viewing health as a more than the sum of our parts. The physical body, as well as the mind, heart and spirit work dynamically together in unified connection to support the integrity of our whole self. Together, they equal a definition of holistic health. This is also reflected in statements like "mind body connection", "mind, body and soul" or "mind, body and spirit".

Sources: holo. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.Retrieved December 19, 2009, from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/holo
and "Holistic Medicine." Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, 3rd ed. Thomson Gale. 2006. Retrieved December 02, 2009 from HighBeam Research: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G2-3451600796.html

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