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Talking about Terms: 'Holistic'

'Holistic' is a term that gets used an awful lot these days, to the point where I feel more recently its meaning is overlooked.

What does it actually mean and does it still apply to our practice?

Holistic comes from the Greek word 'holo' meaning 'whole. The theory of holism is that all parts of one whole are interconnected. Which is why as therapists we promote ourselves as holistic, because we try to see the bigger picture.

This includes considering other factors rather than simply physical health symptoms, but perhaps over environmental and societal factors, influences and habits.

It is important for a therapist to assess our client's lifestyle to figure out what could be a cause of concern (without diagnosis). This includes assessing what you tell us and sometimes reading in-between the lines to see if theres anything else being disguised, just incase. At times, many of us do feel like a counsellor, which isn't a bad thing at all, but if I can be a mirror of some kind to reflect back something you didn't notice before, I feel I have done my job.

Holistic now begins to feel overused to the point where its also under the bracket of 'alternative', because its not traditional Western medicine. Perhaps the term is now slightly outdated and needs to be replaced. In an ideal world perhaps it would be nice if our GP's were also a bit more holistic at times.

We could instead start using other words such as, 'integrative', but then we might start to sound like the medical world. Our practice benefits hugely learning from different corners of the therapy world and fusing them together to form our brand or style. But if we are honest, many of these words we use are saying the same thing. We practice massage, acupuncture or reflexology, not surgery. The term 'complimentary therapies' makes sense if given a diagnosis and therapeutic services are there to aid the process of recovery but it is now used as a blanket statement for the massage world.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the wellbeing industry as it continues to grow in popularity for being a mainstream method for treating pain and chronic disease where the medical world is falling short. Massage and other therapies may not be a first port of call for something that is serious, but it could qualify as a preventative for many future issues.

Read more about massage's endless benefits!

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