Holistic Ayurveda

Holism comes from holos, the Greek word for whole. The Oxford English Dictionary defines holsim as "the tendancy in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution". In ayurveda, a holistic system of healing is used.

A holistic approach to healing realises that the emotional, mental, spiritual and physical elements of each person comprise a system.

Holistic healing then attempts to treat the whole person, concentrating on the cause of the illness as well as symptoms. This approach often focuses on traditional medicine, such as ayurveda, and avoid conventional pharmaceutical drugs.

In philosophy, the idea of holism is that certain wholes or entities are greater than their indivual parts. In ayurveda, the idea of holistic healing is to treat the person as a whole and not the symptoms alone.

Many people turn to ayurveda, since they have found that allopathy (conventional western medicine) only seems to treat or surpress the symptoms of their condition. Ayurveda aims to treat to the root cause of the condition.

History of Holistic Healing
The term holism was coined in 1926, in the publication Holism and Evolution, by Jan Christiaan Smuts. He was a South African statesman, who was also a natualist and a philospher, who had friends such as Mahatma Ghandi and Winston Churchill.

However, the idea of holistic healing is ancient and can stem back to over 5000 years ago. Its orgins are thought to be from India and China. The concept was to treat the body as a whole, as "the part can never be well unless the whole is well" (Plato and Socrates, 4th century BC).

The advent of major scientific advancement in allopathy in twentieth century Western society, such as the discovery of bacteria and viruses, decreased the popularity of holistic healing. The fashionable concept in the Western scientific community, at the time, was the treatment of disease by destroying unwanted pathogens, and led to developments such as increase in production and research for synthesized drugs for treatment.

As allopathy grew in popularity, there was more money and time put into the research for allopathic treatments. It also led to the development of health organisations for strict control of safe and ethical regulations for allopathic treatments. The idea was to improve quality of health in the general population and standardise the health care. This led to an increase in "trust" in national health care in Western medicine.

However, this caused holistic therapies to be sidetracked and they were given less importance. Since less research was promoted for holistic treatment, it was soon seen as "outdated". However, it is now gaining popularity as people realise that allopathy does not have all the answers they need for their condition.

Holistic health care systems such as ayurveda are what people turn to, especially when allopathy fails to succeed for them. The fact that traditional health care systems such as ayurveda are ancient, (and have been going on for thousands of years), add to their credibility - since they have been tried and tested, and has led to the popularity of Complementary and Alternative Medicines.

Now, holistic systems such as ayurveda have seen a dramatic increase in demand, as there is much more promotion. There is an increase in research, education and practice of ayurveda across the globe - from Kerala, in India, to Germany and the USA.

As with all types of health care, including holistic, ayurveda needs to be standardised as much as possible, to maintain a good quality of practice. This is more difficult for health care systems such as ayurveda than allopathy because there is a large proportion which deals with spirituality and mental states, which is very difficult to "measure" and standardise. Also many treatments are specialised around each individual and cannot apply to everyone, which means that many therapies cannot be generalised in practice.

However, there have been some advancement in recognition and improvement in the "trust" of genuine holistic therapies. For example in India and America, ayurvedic phyiscians can gain professional qualifications such as Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery. In the UK, there is a British Register of Complementary Practitioners. The WHO (World Health Organisation) has accepted ayurveda as a genuine health care system and it is catagorised under CAM.

Holistic approach such as ayurveda is beneficial to everyone, and can improve or maintain a good quality of life.

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