holistic medicine, system of health care based on a concept of the "whole" person as one whose body, mind, spirit, and emotions are in balance with the environment. Stressing personal responsibility for health, a holistic approach may include conventional medicine and various nontraditional methods of diagnosis and therapy, e.g., acupuncture, biofeedback, faith healing, folk medicine, megavitamin therapy, meditation, and yoga. Patients are encouraged to establish self-regulated regimes to control such illness-related factors as poor diet, smoking, alcohol intake, and stress. Surgery and prescription drugs are generally avoided. See also alternative medicine.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.