The World Health Organisation (WHO), in 1948,
defined heath as being a state of complete physical, mental and social
well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
This definition can be taken to mean that, a
healthy individual is one that has all round good health in all areas of his
being. The better a person’s physical and mental health for instance, the more
likely that person is to enjoy life. The higher a person’s social stance in
life, the more likely they are to enjoy the good things of life, which includes
good health, good and affordable health care, a well-paid job, etc.
(Shuvani Sanyai, 2017).
Various factors can affect a person’s health;
for instance, a person with low social status is more likely to experience
health issues as a result of stress, financial difficulties and unemployment.
Also, personal habits are likely to affect an individual’s health. Smokers,
heavy drinkers and even binge eaters are likely to suffer from more health
issues. People in less developed countries
are also highly likely to suffer from more health issues; this could be due to
lack of or expensive health care, education etc. (Shuvani Sanyai, 2017). Thus,
the more comfortable a person is or the higher placed in society they are, the
better their chances of having good health.
In December 2008, Alex Jadad and colleagues
attempted a new definition to the term and concluded that ‘health’ is the
ability to adapt and self-manage in the face of social, physical and emotional
challenges (Godlee, 2011).
They argued that the 1948 WHO definition is no
longer workable as complete physical, mental and social wellbeing is
unachievable for most people in the world. It would leave most of us unhealthy
most of the time (Smith, 2008). Richard Smith, amohter author, preferred
Sigmund Freud’ unwritten definition of health as “the capacity to love and
work” (those were the things that were important to him). Basically, what Freud
meant was that, as long as you are able to carry on doing the things you love,
you have health. One good conclude that we can all reach our own definition of
health and define it as we please (Smith, 2008).
The University of Edinburgh also carried out a
similar research and according to them; different people provide different definitions
to the term, each person choosing to provide a definition that was important
and made more sense to them. (The University of Edinburgh, 2018).
According to Kaila Proulx; ‘health is an
all-encompassing state of who we are as individuals (Proulx, 2017).
This definition seems to be in sync with the
WHO definition as seen above. Kalia believes that true health is the
intersection of our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual
well-being at any one time. Kalia’s definition is very similar to the
definition of what Holistic Therapy is and what it does.
Holistic Therapy can be defined as a unique
approach to treatment through a range of different therapies, rather than a
medical concept or system (McGuinness, 2000). It is a form of healing that
considers the whole person; body, mind, spirit and emotions in the quest for
optimal health and wellness (WebMD, n.d.).
People who practice Holistic Therapy believe
that there are different parts to a person and if one part is not working well,
it affects the whole person. The human being is a sum total of various parts.
Picture 1 Domains of Wellbeing (I.pinimg.com,
This diagram explains that the spiritual,
physical, social and psychological parts of a person, contribute to their
wellness. Only when all is well with all those different parts, can one truly
gain proper balance and optimum health (WebMD, n.d.).
This is a key aspect of overall wellness and it
involves regular physical actives, nutrition and health, maintaining a healthy
lifestyle, healthy diet, getting enough rest and sleep. It also includes
immediate treatment of ailments, and seeking emergency care as necessary –
basically everything that protects us from illness and improve our lives
Being emotionally balanced increases our
ability to manage our emotions and handle stress better (Green, 2017). Repressing
emotions leads to depression and anxiety. In a similar fashion, stress is a big
cause of health issues and has been linked to conditions anxiety, insomnia,
heart diseases, stroke and even death.
Tips to improve emotional wellness include;
focusing on the helpful traits of the mind, rather that its problems. Gaining
perspective; for instance asking yourself questions that help you understand
that that issue might be temporary or not as bad as you first thought it was.
Getting into a routing, and seeking extra support (Green, 2017).
wellness: this has different meanings to different people. One
popular definition is that it is a personal matter that involves values and
beliefs that provide a purpose in life. It is considered to be the search for
meaning and purpose, leading one to strive for a state of harmony with oneself
and others while working to balance inner needs with the rest of the world (Wellness.ucr.edu,
The following tips can enhance spiritual
wellness; making time to relax, making time to meditate or pray, believing in a
purpose in life.
wellness: It is widely believed that having a meaningful social
relationship increases the chances of leading a healthier, happier life (Green,
Social wellness means the relationship we have
with other people. Having a good social network could help develop your
assertive skills and increase your self-esteem. A person who is socially
healthy has the tendency to be confident and function well in situations that
involve other people
You could cultivate social wellness by first
taking care of yourself, knowing yourself, appreciating yourself and other
people, leaning to accept people for who they are without being judgemental,
nurturing friendships with people who bring meaningful contributions to your
life (April House, 2013).
The Holistic model differs from the medical (conventional)
model in many ways that include the following:
Therapies aim to work with the normal functions
of the body; they take into account, the person’s individuality. Each person’s
condition is different and therefore requires a different approach. The
treatment strategy is aimed at the whole person and not just one aspect. There
is emphasis on self-healing as the patient is an integral part of the process.
Holistic practitioners help clients examine their lifestyle patterns as well as
their bodily symptoms (McGuinness, 2000).
Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM)
are growing in popularity but not all of them have been studied well enough to
know if they are safe or effective (Mayo Clinic, 2017). However, the NHS agree
that a number of these treatments are used to treat or cure have proven
effective; they would even go as far as offer such treatments in some (howbeit)
limited, instances (Nhs.uk, 2016).
An example of CAMs recognised as effective by
the NHS would be the Alexander technique, which is used to treat Parkinson’s
disease; it teaches improved posture and movement which is believed to help
reduce and prevent problems caused by unhelpful habits (nhs.uk, 2015). Ginger
and acupressure for reducing morning sickness and manual therapy for lower back
pain, osteopathy and chiropractic are all examples of CAMs recognised by the
NHS and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as being
Although research has shown that proper/safe
usage of CAMs could be beneficial to the user, the NHS advice that you first
seek help from your doctors before proceeding to use CAMs as some of them might
be unsafe for the patient (Nhs.uk, 2016). It is safe to assume that all CAMs,
like all medicines, should be handled with care and used with caution.
An osteopath aims to restore the normal
function and stability to the joints to help the body heal itself by using
their hands to treat your body in different ways; using a mixture of gentle and
not so gentle methods to reduce pain, improve movement and encourage the flow
of blood. .
Osteopaths use various methods which include;
massage, stretching stiff joints, articulation, and high-velocity thrusts. Osteopathy
can remove the underlying cause of pain, reduce pain and stiffness in muscles
and joints, increase the range of motions in the joints, and relieve chronic
pain through non-evasive treatment among other benefits (In Sync Natural
Osteopathy has been found to be very effective
and it is one of the CAMs techniques recognised and approved by the NHS for
being highly effective (nhs.uk, 2015).
This can help with pain in muscles and joints
like back pain, neck, shoulder and elbow pain. This is another example of a CAM
that is recognised and recommended by the NHS as being highly effective. It is
offered by the NHS in some areas.
Chiropractors use hands-on spinal manipulation
and other alternative treatments to align the body’s musculoskeletal structure
(including the spine). They believe that this will enable the body to heal
itself properly without surgery or medication (WebMD, n.d.).
The NHS recognised chiropractic as being very
safe when performed correctly and side effects are minor and usually pass in a
few days (nhs.uk, 2017)
The major difference between an osteopath and
chiropractor is that the chiropractor will focus primarily on the spine and
joints (and muscles to an extent), the osteopath is concerned with the rest of
the body (Precision-chiropractic.co.uk, n.d.).
The NHS has agreed that there is evidence that
both osteopathy and chiropractic are effective for treating lower back pain and
pains in the joints and muscles. Osteopathy and chiropractic are regulated in
the same way as conventional medicine and there is a list of registered
osteopaths and chiropractors on the NHS website (Nhs.uk, 2016).