A brief history of Holistic Medicine:
Holistic medicine is not a new system of medicine. It is as old as man’s foray into the world. A fact that is strangely lesser known is that India is the cradle that fostered Holistic medicine. More that 10,000 years ago, we had great physicians like Lord Dhanvantri, Rishis who brought forth the treatises on Ayurveda. Foremost among these great rishis were Sage Charaka and Sage Sushrutha.
The earliest western records credit Hippocrates as being the father of modern medicine, although he did his work more than 400 years before Lord Jesus was born. But, Hippocrates was a visionary beyond comprehension. He wrote more than sixty books on Medicine. He was truly the father of modern medicine as well as the father or Holistic medicine.
Through the eons, mystics, spiritual persons and passionate men carried on their relentless quest for health. In the 12th century A.D. there was a great Arabian physician called as Rhazes, who emphasized on diet as a mode of treatment.
In the Renaissance period, Europe saw great strides in our understanding of Anatomy. Unfortunately, there was also ignorance. People thought that illness was as a result of demons. Debilitating therapies were in vogue like applying leaches to human beings to take away the “so called bad blood”.
Around two hundred years ago, Franz Anton Mesmer came into the scene and created a new system of cure, which was popularly called as Mesmerism. Unfortunately, Mesmer had to flee his own country of birth. About one hundred and fifty years ago, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann came into the scene and he revolutionized medical therapy by introducing Homeopathy, where the dictum of cure was Similia similibus Curentur –which simply means that like cures like.
World war II saw the advent of Penicillin and then man never seemed to look back. The war on the microbes seemed to have been won and a plethora of new antibiotics came onto the scene. Surgical techniques became refined in the seventies, eighties and the nineties and everybody thought that Holistic medicine should be confined to history textbooks. Everywhere it was Allopathy, allopathy and only allopathic.
Holistic Medicine makes a come back:
With the advent of gross urbanization, mindless industrialization and gross destruction of the environment, a new set of diseases came up and they were Stress related disorders. Then sprang up the viruses like AIDS, SARS and BIRD FLU, just to name a few. In the nineties doctors discovered to their utter horror that existing bugs were becoming resistant to antibiotics and newer super bugs evolved – the MRSA’s, the ESBL’ s, the MDR tuberculosis. Finally, we have come back one full circle and patients who became fed up of the allopathic system started seeking solace to their ailments through Yoga, Ayurveda, massage, nutritional therapy and Homeopathy. Thus, Holistic medicine has made a comeback in the latter part of the 20th century and in the early 21st century.
What is Holistic Medicine?
The Canadian Holistic Medical Association defines holistic Medicine as follows.
Holistic medicine is a system of health care, which fosters a cooperative relationship among all those involved, leading towards optimal attainment of the physical, mental emotional, social and spiritual aspects of health.
It emphasizes the need to look at the whole person, including analysis of physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual and lifestyle values. Holistic medicine focuses on education and responsibility for personal health.
The other terms associated with Holistic Medicine are:
- Alternative Medicine.
- Complementary Medicine
- Natural Healing.
Society is undergoing a rapid transition and values are changing. The world needs a spiritual revolution and Holistic medicine will give the world the spin of total health, it needs.