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ISSN: 2644-1217

Open Access Journal of Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Review Article(ISSN: 2644-1217)

Getting to Health through Integrative Practices

Volume 1 - Issue 3

Farah MC Shroff*

  • Author Information Open or Close
    • University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Department of Family Practice and School of Population and Public Health, Vancouver BC, Canada

    *Corresponding author: Dr Farah MC Shroff, University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, Department of Family Practice and School of Population and Public Health, Vancouver BC, Canada

Received: October 25, 2018;   Published: October 30, 2018

DOI: 10.32474/OAJCAM.2018.01.000112

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Traditional medical practitioners far outnumber practitioners of allopathic medicine in most parts of the South World. They are thus, de facto, the world’s most popular form of primary care. This chapter discusses the re-emergence of traditional/integrative1 healthcare around the world. Within ‘post’-colonial societies, traditional health knowledge has re-emerged in the context of nationalist struggles for independence and a growing interest in natural health care, amongst other trends. As South World people2 become more self-reliant, interest in indigenous health practices develops. Concomitantly, as critiques of allopathic medicine’s side-effects develop, interest in natural and spiritual forms of healthcare grows. However, those who can access allopathic care almost always choose to blend it with traditional medicine. This chapter critically explores the fundamental concept of and the increasing popularity of integrative healthcare practices particularly within South World societies. We touch on the re-integration of traditional and modern health knowledge and how this trend is simultaneously occurring all over the planet. While colonialism negatively impacted the work of traditional medical practitioners Shroff et al. [1], in contemporary times, youth as well as elderly people are digging deep into their roots to find answers to modern problems. It is challenging to piece together bits of verbal knowledge handed from one generation to the next so gaps in knowledge inevitably exist. Regardless, knowledge evolves, and changes are made to virtually all practices as a result. As new diseases and problems arise, wholistic health care is trying to adapt to these challenges. Blending the evolved practices of integrated healthcare with modern day conceptualizations of body and mind, today’s wholistic health practitioners have a much better toolkit than they ever had. This bodes well for health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliation of societies around the world.

In blending ancient and modern healthcare knowledge forms, population health status may benefit from the transformative potential of healing properties of plants, particular foods, water, spinal manipulation, acupuncture, the deep connection between mind, body and spirit, massage therapy techniques, and the salubrious effect of a true healer. This chapter will explore the international, interdisciplinary, historical and contemporary manifestations of wholistic thought forms with a view to contribute to this book’s emphasis on traditional medicine.

a) The words integrative, natural, and traditional are used interchangeably in this chapter.

b) South World is used here to encompass Latin America, Afrika, Asia, and the Middle East.

George Manuel, a Canadian indigenous leader coined the term “Fourth World“ to describe the colonial reality of indigenous people of the Americas, whose lands are occupied by Europeans settlers. We include their realities in our references to people the ‘South’ World. The concept of wholism is defined in various ways. This chapter offers foundational understandings of this term from various parts of the world, illustrating the virtually universal, historical as well as contemporary nature of ideas such as interconnectedness, unity and oneness. Throughout human history, wholistic world views were dominant until the past 400 years or so. Currently, a revival of wholistic thought forms is taking place in many parts of the world. The purpose of this chapter is to sketch the landscape of wholistic philosophical foundations, discuss systems science in this context and apply these underpinnings to wholistic health in the hope that it will increase our understanding of both the conceptual foundations of wholism as well as its South World applications to health promotion, disease prevention, treatment of ill health, rehabilitation and palliation. We discuss the importance of wholism and social justice for developing community health. Additionally, although we do not have space in this chapter to discuss it, we support efforts to regulate integrate health care for the purpose of protecting patients. The chapter concludes with the recommendation that wholistic health-care practitioners take social inequities into account, so that integrative health care can become a means for individuals to take action for wellness as well as a means to create structural changes toward equitable resource distribution.

Abstract| Introduction| Authors’ Social Location| Principles of Wholism| Wholistic Health Care: A Growing Trend| Wholistic Health Care Critically Examined| Closing Reflections| Acknowledgment| References|