The Science of Holistic Medicine

BODY: Physical and Environmental Health

1. Nutritional Medicine

2. Environmental Medicine

3. Exercise Medicine

MIND: Mental and emotional health

4. Behavioral Medicine (including Psychoneuroimmunology)

SPIRIT: Spiritual and Social Health

5. Spiritual Medicine

6. Social Medicine

The six specialized areas are:

1. Biomolecular Medicine

2. Botanical Medicine

3. Energy Medicine

4. Ethno- Medicine

5. Homeopathic Medicine

6. Manual Medicine

ABHM compiled a list for:

Components of Holistic Health

Loving your BODY:

Physical Health

• high energy and vitality

• freedom from or high adaptability to pain, dysfunction, and disability

• a strong immune system

• a body that feels light, balanced, and has good aerobic capacity

• ability to meet physical challenges

• full capacity of all five senses and a healthy libido

Environmental Health

• harmony with your environment (neither harming nor being harmed)

• awareness of your connectedness with nature

• feeling grounded

• respect and appreciation for nature, the earth at all of her inhabitants

• contact with the earth; breathing healthy air; drinking pure water; eating uncontaminated food;

exposure to the sun, fire, or candlelight; immersion in warm water (all on a daily basis)

Loving your MIND:

Mental Health

• peace of mind and contentment

• a job that you love doing

• optimism

• a sense of humor

• financial well-being

• living your vision

Emotional Health

• self-acceptance and high self-esteem

• capacity to identify, express, experience, and accept all of your feelings, both painful and joyful

• awareness of the integral connection between your physical/emotional bodies

• confronting your greatest fears

• fulfilling your capacity to play

• peak experiences on a regular basis

Loving your SPIRIT:

Spiritual Health

• experience of unconditional love/absence of fear

• soul awareness with a personal relationship with God or spirit

• trust in your intuition and a willingness to change

• gratitude

• creating a sacred space on a regular basis through prayer, meditation, walking in nature,

observing a Sabbath day, or other rituals

• sense of purpose

• being present in every moment

Social Health

• intimacy with the spouse, partner, relative, or close friend

• forgiveness

• sense of belonging to a support group or community

• touch and/or physical intimacy on a daily basis

• selflessness/altruism

The American Board of Holistic Medicine took an enormous leap for Western medicine putting aside the
rationalistic/scientism model for understanding the human condition moving into the current transitional approach in holistic medicine research by stating that, “The primary objective of the practice of holistic medicine is the experience of optimal or holistic health. Optimal health is the unlimited and unimpeded free flow of life force energy through body, mind, and spirit.” The statements continued further with an expression of, “Holistic physicians believe the essence of this energy is unconditional love. It is also called and chi (Chinese), ki (Japanese), prana (Sanskrit), and chai (Hebrew). The art of practicing holistic medicine lies in healing/loving ourselves; and our work is to help our patients by identifying and committing to mitigate and remove the restrictions and obstructions that cause dis-ease to prevent us from fully experiencing and enjoying life. It is a process of facilitating growth and maximizing human potential.” (ABHM, 2000)

The twelve ABHM principles of holistic medical practice are:

1. Unconditional love is life’s most powerful healer.

2. Optimal health is much more than the absence of sickness

3. Illness is viewed as a manifestation of the whole person, not as an isolated


4. Holistic physicians embrace a variety of safe, effective options in diagnosis

and treatment, including:

a. education for lifestyle changes and self-care

b. complementary approaches; and

c. conventional drugs and surgery.

5. Searching for the underlying cause of disease is preferable to treating

symptoms alone.

6. Holistic physicians expend as much effort to establishing what kind of

patient has a disease as they do establishing what kind of disease a patient


7. Prevention is preferable to treatment and is usually more cost-effective.

The most cost-effective approach evokes the patient’s own healing


8. A major determinant of healing outcomes is the quality of the relationship

established between physician and patient, in which patient autonomy is


9. The ideal physician-patient relationship considers the needs, desires,

awareness and insight of the patient as well as those of the physician.

10. Physicians significantly influence patients by their example.

11. Illness, pain, and the dying process can be learning opportunities for

patients and physicians.

12. Holistic physicians encourage patients to evoke the healing power of love,

hope, humor and enthusiasm, and to release the toxic consequences of

hostility, shame, greed, depression, and prolonged fear, anger, and grief.