Holism in healthcare today
In 1983 a group of doctors and healthcare workers formed an organisation called the British Holistic Medical Association (BHMA). At the time it was perhaps a reaction to the growing trend in medical care to viewing patients as diseases rather than as individuals. However they were full of idealism that peoples suffering needed to be cared for in a way that all aspects of their being and their environment was taken into account. In addition they felt that the doctor or therapist responsible for dealing with the patient needed to part of the healing process and adopted as their motto ‘Physician heal thyself’’.
The focus has been to promote holism through education, and over the years conferences and workshops were held and a regular newsletter and journal produced. A new co-operation flourished between registered practitioners and alternative therapists. The mind-body connection was important and spirituality and its place in healthcare explored. The BHMA’s Journal of holistic healthcare has been at the forefront of innovative ideas for healthcare, and although the BHMA is a small organisation of 500 members, it has made a huge impact in promoting compassionate competent care.
So we come to the question of, ‘Where is holism in healthcare today?’ If you are a pessimist you will despair at the industrialisation of our medical institutions and the growing influence of big pharma. If you are an optimist you can see many examples of compassionate integrated care throughout our healthcare system. Many challenges are ahead, particularly climate change which is the biggest threat to health on our planet.
The BHMA continues to promote holism in healthcare by discussing and educating on five dimensions of holism. (See at right).
We will promote these aspects of holism wherever we can but primary through the Journal of holistic healthcare. The BHMA produces three issues per year and members receive a paper copy and access to all the issues over the last 7 years for £48/year. E-membership at £25/year and means you can access and download pdf copies of articles. This is excellent value and useful for CPD, but also you will be keeping alive the ideal of holism in healthcare.
Dr Craig Brown, Chairman of the British holistic medical association and President of the NFSH 1997-2001.