Monday, September 24, 2012
The Total Stress Management or Holistic Health incorporates blossoming of an individual and universe; and the various efforts in achieving this; include holistic perspective, accurate and appropriate policies and effective implementation at individual and global level in different fields of life; and these efforts in case of medicine; constitute holistic medicine.

The concept of holistic medicine emerges as a result of realization of the underlying unity, continuity and complementarity; amongst the apparently different disciplines of healing and preventive and social medicine (In fact it emerges from the realization of the universal unity, continuity and complementarity). This is emergence of SATVIKA JNAANA (Geeta 18.20).

Promoters and supporters of holistic medicine; accept and welcome; the healing products and services from all the walks of life; for can restoring and promoting holistic health.

It is usual for most of us to get stuck to the differences (in the study of different fields) as and when they strike our senses; and build our concepts; based on these isolated observations of ours. The knowledge and understanding of different fields or disciplines as separate disjointed or disconnected entities; is called RAJASA JNAANA (Geeta 18.21).

Those who either practice mixed or integrated medicine or are not averse to dialogue or advocate it, may fit in this category.

The third variety is ignorance about every other medical discipline and adamant adherence to any given medical discipline alone; is a state of darkness called TAMASA JNAANA (Geeta 18.22).

Most of the warring factions from different medical disciplines; opposing the emergence of holistic medicine can fit in this category.

The word holistic is derived from the Greek word holos which literally means a) Taking in the whole of something b) Whole of organism is a more fruitful field of study than its parts or symptoms.

It can be stated for the sake of simplicity and further clarity; that:

The holistic medicine is trans-religious (not religious or not non religious i.e. neither holy nor unholy), trans-national (neither national nor non-national/anti-national), trans-cultural (neither of a particular culture nor against any particular culture), trans-intellectual (neither bound in a particular intellectual framework nor opposed to a particular intellectual framework), trans-ideological (neither committed to a particular ideology nor opposed to a particular ideology) and trans-scientific (neither unscientific nor locked in rigid criteria of physical sciences)!

Study of holistic medicine constitutes efforts to understand, visualize and realize the multi-charactered, multifaceted, multidimensional and multi-layered complex nature of life (in addition to what is learnt in allopathy or what is learnt in any one discipline).

The intention of the study is to comprehend the agreement, continuity and validity (or otherwise) of the concepts of different disciplines (allopathy, Ayurveda, SAANKHYA philosophy, homeopathy, yoga, Chinese medicine etc.), which emerge and get evolved from different levels of consciousness; of differently constituted individuals; in different regions; at different time periods; with different backgrounds.

The approach of holistic medicine; can not be classified merely; as eclectic, analytical, synthetic or reductionist etc. The holistic approach embodies all these as means to "see" the unity and continuity in different phenomena.

The holistic medicine is therefore not a new system or a new discipline of medicine. It is a way to see things as they are rather than how they appear; and thereby preserve and promote holistic health and healing.

Studying holistic medicine; simultaneously makes us aware of possibilities as well as limitations. For example understanding the ayurvedic concepts such as DOSHA, DHATU, MALA, their balance, their imbalance, the concept of PRAKRUTI i.e. constitution etc. with holistic approach, add new dimension to the knowledge of the student of physiology as well as to the diagnostic skills of a clinician from the discipline of allopathy.

Understanding of the concepts of panchakarma, naturopathy, yoga etc. with holistic approach makes the treatment also more effective because several different modalities and remedies in the repertoire act at different levels or different points and complementarily.

Study of holistic medicine; also makes us aware of the importance of the analytical approach inherent to allopathy. This is why a student of holistic medicine is unprejudiced, open and objective.

Besides; the holistic understanding of human existence (which is fundamental to the study of holistic medicine); gives us insight into the enormous healing powers; inside patient, in the environment; and helps us to help him/her to use those powers beneficially. This is a great benefit in terms of empowerment of the clinician as well as the patient.

Thus; holistic medicine relieves us (health care providers such as doctors and paramedics) and all others; from the unhealthy patronizing and condescending attitude! It gives us; the courage to see their ignorance and admit it. It imparts intellectual honesty to admit the ignorance hidden under the Greek, Latin, Sanskrit or other esoteric/mystifying terms, characteristic to many branches of science in general and medicine in particular.

Take for example hysteria. We do not know any physiological mechanisms underlying this condition. But the ignorance is hidden under the term. Another example is that dreams, thoughts, emotions etc. The ignorance about the physical dimensions of dreams, thoughts, emotions etc, even as we can not dispute or disprove their existence; is hidden under several terms! Holistic medicine discourages and disapproves knowingly or unknowingly practiced hypocrisy and imparts humility.

Some more examples from the disciplines of medicine are as follows. Holistic approach enables us to see the limitations intrinsic to the concept of standardization of weight, height and possible errors in interpretation of biochemical parameters and calculations of regimentalized doses of drugs; because of the lack of due consideration to variations in the constitutions.

Holistic medicine cautions us against indiscriminate use of ayurvedic drugs without due consideration to the variation in the quality, nature, source etc. of the ingredients of the drug as well as the constitution of the patient and the type of climate.

Holistic medicine gives us insight into the possible mechanism of the action of homeopathic drugs on the one hand and cautions about the ambiguity in the method of diagnosis arising out of subjective factors related to the doctor as well as the patient, on the other. Holistic medicine indicates the complementarity between the actions of different remedies from different disciplines of medicine and improves the healing process.

Holistic medicine reveals to us the possibility of "cosmic homeostasis" on the one hand; while simultaneously exposing the possible fallibility; intrinsic to the tall claims and sectarian practice of distance healing, gemology, astrology, numerology etc. which have different approaches and interpretations, without sufficiently convincing reasons; and which oppose the science blindly.

Beside all above, implication of the holistic medicine is; its readiness to change and accommodate new ideas, i.e. not getting shackled in dogmas of any kind.

But possibly the most important implication is development of proper perspective about the health and healing, which would help in development of proper policies of services, education, research, and production in the field of mainstream medical care, education, research and coordination of all these; with policies in the other fields (influencing the health directly and indirectly) such as education, industry, environment, agriculture etc.