I recently chanced upon this article which I think articulates the distinction between holism and wholism wonderfully. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, holism is the theory that an organism is the sum of its parts rather than separate individual pieces. However in recent decades, being holistic has taken on the connotation of being a New Ager which I think makes many people steer clear away from any therapy that is based on (w)holism.
This could be why many people approach traditional acupuncture with distrust. For some who are already skeptical and need science based evidence, the last thing they need is a distortedly incorrect image of crystal waving holistic soul realigning chanting.
I believe both holism and wholism have a place in people’s lives; anything that allows people to survive today’s hectic lifestyle must be worth preserving. However to be properly accepted in the mainstream, acupuncture must make the clear distinction that it is a wholistic therapy: that is health and wellbeing is dependant on factors such as diet, mental state and emotions as well as the physical state of the body. The soul and spirit are important factors but perhaps like the separation of church and state, we should leave that at the door when discussing the therapeutic benefits of acupuncture.
Image: K Leoungk
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- Five reasons to see an acupuncturist
- Integrating western medicine with complementary therapies: The importance of East meets West for healthcare