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What does "Holistic" mean?

Holism is defined as the theory that living matter or reality is made up of organic or unified wholes that are greater than the simple sum of their parts. Holos is the ancient Greek concept of a divine wholeness inherent in the natural world and in each individual.


Since communities were established within the human race there always been a practitioner or healer as still found in tribes in Africa and other less developed countries worldwide. People went to visit them not when they were unwell but well also and the knowledge they held was passed down through the generations. These healers treated an individual as a whole incorporating the emotional, physical and spiritual into their treatments.


Taking into account the whole person gets better results from treatments

When the industrial revolution began in Britain in the seventeenth century the country as a whole advanced very quickly with many inventions such as locomotives, refrigeration and electricity making science and new technologies very fashionable. It was the job opportunities combined with the work houses that drew the public from their homes in the country to slums in the city with sometimes horrendous living conditions and no gardens or in fact time to grow any plants, many people lost the knowledge and awareness of nature and holism. The reason we are still aware and using herbs and plants today is because other countries that were not so affected by the industrial boom did not abandon the usage of them.


With science being a popular interest, the attention to medicine rose on the physical side and people began to stop seeing the human being as a whole but focusing on the physical aspect only leaving the spiritual part neglected. The industrial revolution and interest in physical medicine collided and properties that are found naturally in plants were soon synthetically copied for remedies to benefit from economies of scale so that natural medicine declined and eventually the spiritual and physical parts of the soul were entirely separated.


Luckily a minority kept practising in the theory and there has now been a recent re-emergence in the last century in holism and treating ailments both spiritually and physically. Alternative therapies now look at the individuals physical, emotional and spiritual segments to treat the body as whole and more efficiently.

[1] Pittman Vicki, Aromatherapy a Practical Approach, Nelson Thornes LTD, Cheltenham (2004) pp1


[2] Price Shirley, Practical Aromatherapy, Harper Collins, London (1994) pp14

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