The approach to health differs between the western model and holistic models. In the west health, is defined by conventional or allopathic practitioners as the absence of disease. Very little time or resources or committed to looking at the whole person and the connection between mind-body-spirit. Yet, these very same practitioners do recognize that some connection exists and that those with mind-spirit disruptions do not fare as well with treatments. These are often those with chronic illness who continue to resist treatment or life style changes and those who seem unable to heal. This is not absolute of course. Many succumb to a multitude of diseases that are very strong in mind and spirit. The nature of healing is a complex process and is not an event. It involves the role of the patient and practitioner(s) in a complex process. This process of integrating healthy life styles into the essence of life often involves using multiple avenues by the patient with the assistance of one or often more practitioners. No set time frame can be applied since this is a very personal process with a unique purpose for each person involved. This includes the healer/practitioner.
The role of the practitioner is to be present in the moment with the person requesting healing. This must be done with full active listening and without any judgment on the part of the practitioner or healing will not occur. This necessitates time. Think about this with the way medicine is practiced in this country. Physician/practitioners have 7-15 minutes with each patient, need to quickly get to the complaint and move on. Medicine is practiced in a cookbook fashion not allowing for much individualization. Practitioners often feel very frustrated at the system for rushing them and or the patient for not being compliant. This is not a safe place for the patient to open up and talk about feelings or difficulties in why they are not following the practitioners’ recommendations. There are times, unfortunately, when the patient is berated and made to feel “stupid” by the practitioner or put down in some other way. This especially happens if the patient discusses alternative therapies they have or are thinking about using. Fortunately, practitioners today are more open to this. Often patients leave the office feeling more angry and frustrated. They are often getting sicker and see no other options open to them.
The holistic philosophy of medicine looks at the whole person. It recognizes a definition far more open to discovery of a meaning to each patient’s life. For example the American Holistic Nurses Association defines the healing process as a continual process of changing and evolving of one’s self through life.” The founder of Homeopathy Samuel Hahnemann in his Organon defines health: “In the state of health the spirit-like force (dynamics) animating the material human organism reigns in supreme sovereignty. It maintains the sensations and activities of all the parts of the living organism in a harmony that obliges wonderment.” I don’t know a more powerful or beautifully definition of health. If all human beings lived in this state how would there be wars? How could we treat each other with anything other than dignity and respect?
Let’s consider the holistic model on a simple every day event like a paper cut. Depending on your situation this will be a minor annoyance or a major invasion of time in your day. Imagine you are getting finishing up a report and the paper cut causes you to bleed on the report just before you are copying it. You are running late and need to copy the report and have it ready in 15 minutes. The type of reaction you have is dependent on your work environment and stressors, your own personality, how much sleep you got the night before and how many small annoyances you have already had today at work and home. The paper cut is shaped by your life in that moment and it shapes you life as well. Inthe Cherokee Indian tradition this connection was fully understood. In the event of a snake bite (even non-poisonous) a ceremony or ritual was done to release the emotional/spiritual trauma of the bite so it wouldn’t cause a disease lateron. Respect for the entire being allows the healer to see such events as part of the tapestry of existence and see beyond the physical into the spirit of each life.