When I was a child I had a vague, lingering sense that things weren’t quite as they should be. I carried a slight sadness that the world seemed a very disconnected place. Of course, I couldn’t articulate this, but this feeling became stronger as I entered my teenage years. By the time I was old enough to decide on a career path I became interested in health and soon had the good fortune to meet a naturopath who was able to cast some light on my frustrations. She went on to explain the concept of wholism; the idea that different parts are all interconnected and cannot be understood without understanding the whole. This instantly resonated with me and, soon after, I enrolled to study naturopathy. From that time on, the concept of wholism has been the core philosophy underpinning my world view.
Applying a wholistic approach to medicine has also transformed my understanding of health and disease. The body is not merely a collection of individual organs, tissues and cells, but rather an inseparable, cohesive system. With this ‘systems biology’ approach, rather than treating symptoms or individual disease components, we are able to address the underlying causes of disease. Recognising the interdependent nature of the body also provides us with the means by which we can restore a person to a state of health, which is quite distinct from the mere absence of disease.
I believe we have now entered a transformative time in history. There is a groundswell of interest in the wholistic model that will prove to be the foundation of a truly global health revolution. I can foresee a time when the best of conventional medicine and ‘complementary medicine’ merge to create a new model of standard healthcare known as Integrative Medicine. That time may not be too far away.