Holistic medicine is a form of healing that takes into consideration the whole person: body, mind, emotions, lifestyle, outlook, and spirit. According to the holistic medicine philosophy, one can achieve optimal health only by balancing all of these components. In other words, over the long run a healthy body is impossible with an afflicted mind. Emotions are filtered through the way in which we view the world, and our overall sense of wellbeing is based on a sense of meaning and connectedness in life and in the world. Likewise, physical ailments can often be alleviated simply by changing one’s outlook, emotions can be improved through exercise, and one’s sense of connectedness in the world can be reinforced by eating certain foods that are locally grown and in season.
What does it mean to have optimal health?
In order to understand optimal health, we must take into consideration the full picture of what it means to be human. Western medicine tends to focus on the physical components of the human organism, looking at such things as blood pressure, cholesterol level, and genetics. But, according to many practitioners, the body is only one corner of the triad of being human. What is often missing in conventional medicine are the other two components: specifically the mind and the spirit of the individual. Both of these also have needs in order for one to have optimal health. Though Corinne Collins has had her formal training in the West at the Universitiy of Washington in Seattle and at UCLA, she has had the opportunity to live in and practice medicine in Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand, and Tibet. Through these experiences, she has enhanced her understanding of Western medicine with the full-person wisdom offered by more traditional Eastern healing systems, thereby gaining a perspective on health and the human condition that is truly holistic.
Mind-body medicine involves using the mind to influence the way the body functions and perceives phenonema, including pain. Some of these methods for using the mind are included in the systems of meditation, biofeedback, support groups, and yoga. Corinne Collins is an MBSR instructor. The training provided by the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program integrates training in meditation, yoga, and group process. This training has helped many patients deal with problems of chronic pain, anxiety, depression, stress, chronic illness, and tension in the jaw, neck, and shoulders.