Holistic Health & Wellness
Wellness is multidimensional, dynamic, subjective, and personal when it comes to practicing health (What Is Wellness?, 2019). Many people believe in holistic health when they decide to develop healthy habits. This type of wellness theory focuses on maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spiritual being.
Theories of health give context to humans so that they can make since of their bodily experience (Ritter & Graham, 2016, pp. 32-37) . These ideas are a social construct at the root of cultural experience. Essentially, it varies from culture to culture when it comes to health. For example, these ideas can look like (32):
- consuming a well-balanced diet
- wearing amulets
- rewards for good behavior
In the Western world, the human body is thought to be like a machine compared to the Eastern part of the world (32). In this case, Eastern philosophies view health as a balance among the physical, social, and spiritual environment.
However in the Western world, practices surround the biomedical theory, which is based on a mechanical view of the body. If the machine breaks down, then the body incurs illness (36). Spirituality is separate from the body. Also, mental disorders are treated with medicine and counseling. Allopathy is based on a biological cure. Therefore, illness is diagnosed, cured by pharmaceuticals, and deeply rooted in the germ theory of disease (37). This theory is biomedical and a keystone to modern medicine has produced antibiotics and hygiene practices (37).
Holistic vs. Allopathy Health
In the United States, these two pathways of health are popular. Holistic is unscientific and focuses more on the psychosocial model of health. More examples are identified below (pp. 38):
- Human focused
- Healing emphasized
- Natural remedies
- Lifestyle and maintenance
- Medicine works together with healing process
- Disease as process
- Focuses on causes and patterns
- Health as a process
Compared to holistic health, allopathic is scientific and focuses more on the physical and sickness than the social and healing. Diagnosis and treatment for people is based on scientific data. Some examples of allopathic include emphasis on the cure, medicine as a counteragent, and convenient.
Wellness is the umbrella where holistic and allopathic health perspectives fall under. Both types of systems are neither good or bad. However, culture affects our decisions and direction where health is concerned. Many cultures within the United States do not practice the biomedical way even though health care providers practice scientific procedures. On the contrary, therapy, awareness of spirituality, prayer, focus on nutrition and balance are very popular practices common to holistic health. Depending on the the influences and roots of the culture we most identify will determine our path to healthy habits and to wellness.
Author: Jamie Moore Senior Sam Houston State University Pre-Nursing
Ritter, L. A., & Graham, D. H. (2016). Multicultural Health (6th ed.) [E-book]. Jones & Bartlett Learning. https://www.chegg.com/reader/9781284021035/2/
What is Wellness? (2019, May 14). Global Wellness Institute. https://globalwellnessinstitute.org/what-is-wellness/
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