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Bring whole person care to the forefront

Whole person health can have a positive affect on peoples lives. This article explains how Tolle totum and holism can be used in everyday life.
Family life including sharing meals and engaging in meal preparations together can support social well-being.
© Courtesy of Pixabay 2023.

What do you think whole person health is, and why could this concept be of value to health and well-being?

What is whole person health?

Whole person health involves looking at the whole person regarding their health care and health needs. Reflecting on holism and treating the whole person – Tolle totum, you can see how these aspects of naturopathic medicine can sit within the definition of whole person health. However, whole person health can be taken further from the individual level. It can include the impact on health that may involve family, the community, and the greater population National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, 2021. Considering the definition of holism from a naturopathic medicine perspective, it is essential to consider all of the elements in a person’s world that may contribute to health and well-being while also considering the interconnect and interplay between these elements. For example, if a person is experiencing depression, it is essential to consider their social, physical and mental health, which can contribute to depression. Whole person health can significantly impact people’s lives, whether by assessing the cause of a disease or educating people on how to self-manage their disease from a holistic perspective. It is particularly vital when considering its value in chronic diseases, as several chronic diseases do not affect just one aspect of a person’s health. Further, the impact of other aspects of health can impact the severity or progression of a disease.

Whole person health self-management approaches

A core aspect of whole person health is that the person is central to managing their health and well-being. This includes being informed of their care, taking a collaborative approach to treatment strategies, being empowered to control health and well-being, and being educated for lifelong self-care and management. While these aspects can be used in all care forms and delivery, they still need to be individualised and holistic to have the most favourable outcomes for health care. However, some simple strategies can be employed in everyday life to aim for a whole person approach to health and well-being.

  • Physical care: Making exercise and movement a priority to health can have lifelong impacts in improving health and well-being. Exercise and movement can assist with the physical body and support mental and emotional well-being and even social health if engaging in group or paired exercise. Aiming for a balanced and colourful diet based on whole foods can provide the relevant nutrients to support healthy living and focus on reducing modifiable dietary choices that contribute to disease, such as processed foods and alcohol.
  • Psychological care: Self-compassion, kindness, and acceptance can go a long way in being kind to yourself and play a big part in mental well-being. Having self-compassion can improve the internal dialogue and reduce negative thoughts. Considering professional help at times of distress is also vital, and acknowledging that it is okay to seek mental health care.
  • Social care: Spending quality time with friends and family and engaging in the community can engage in a healthy social life. Participating in social engagements in the community that are meaningful to you or developing healthy social relationships with colleagues for coffee and lunch catch-ups can be simple strategies to include in everyday life.
  • Environmental care: Environmental wellness can be included in everyday life. From reducing the use of chemical-based cleaning products for more natural alternatives to reducing allergens and improving air quality in the home. Spending time in nature and away from air pollution (where possible), reducing screen time, and adding plants to living spaces can all generate a more positive environment that can contribute to health and well-being.
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Fundamentals of Naturopathic Medicine

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