In its most basic form, a holistic approach to your health means looking at a persons physical, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing. It encourages you to be an active partner in the process of healing. In this article, we explore the idea further.
With the rise of innovation and technology in the 1950s, the western approach to health management focused mainly on physical conditions and treatments, some times at the cost of looking at patients other needs.
This focus, or lack thereof, spurred many “complementary’ or ‘alternative’ methodologies, for example, naturopathy, meditation and activities like yoga. In the sixties and seventies, these became associated with counter-culture.
In recent decades, modern medicine has included many diverse approaches to overall health, bringing a robust, scientific approach that requires evidence-based research to ensure treatments are reliable and safe.
There are significant challenges to creating a science-based holistic approach to medicine. These include mixed methodologies in complementary treatment that prevent consistent test conditions to measure outcomes. The huge variety of treatments means the quantity of data and its sources make it near-to-impossible to connect everything for analytical purposes.
While technology and big data slowly solve these problems, the operating philosophy of Australian medical institutions is to look at the overall health needs of a patient. Great strides are being made every year in advancing diagnosis and treatments that look at a whole-of-health approach.
Here are some examples of how the Australian health system has embraced holistic health. While it is still a work-in-progress, these actions demonstrate a commitment to the concept.
- Community Pharmacy
In Australia, pharmacy is enabled to deliver services like blood glucose readings, vaccinations and heart health checks. The federal government has recognised a pharmacy’s role in providing not only scripts and professional advice but, also, much-needed social connection for many in our society. The formal term is ‘community pharmacy’ recognises social fabric as much as medicine.
- Mental Health Program
Federal and state governments are increasing their support for mental health research, awareness and treatment. The medical community has lobbied to solve the problems that they often have to treat, with the underlying cause of undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues leading to other outcomes in patients health.
- My Health Record
The My Health Record initiative is a high profile and extremely complex undertaking fraught with community concerns about data privacy, notwithstanding the technical challenges of such a program. Educating and empowering individual Australians to take personal ownership of their various health information is happening slowly. It is fundamentally about painting a holistic picture of one health treatment across multiple agencies and institutions.
Holistic health and modern medicine are not mutually exclusive concepts, in fact, far from it. As individuals, we are encouraged to consider all of our health need, not only traditional physical requirements. These are not new concepts, and they sit closely with the concept of preventive health action to ask, what can be done in all facts of life to encourage the best of health in all of us.
Written by Nathan C.
Nathan is passionate about fitness, including researching and writing about it.
 WebMD. Acupuncture for Back Pain. 2020
All articles are provided as general information and are not intended, nor may it be construed, as medical advice or instruction. Information and opinions expressed are believed to be correct and accurate to the best knowledge and judgement of the authors. Readers should consult their appropriately qualified health care professional prior to taking any action or inaction.