Osteopathy is a form of healthcare, which is supported by scientific knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the human body (Chila and American Osteopathic Association, 2011). Osteopaths use the art of manual expertise to locate the complaint provoking structure, for the physical examination and for the treatment of patients. An osteopathic treatment is focused on the causes of the complaint instead of concentrating on the symptoms (Paulus, 2013). There are three fundamental principles, which forms the osteopathic philosophy.
The first principle contains the concept that the human body has self-regulatory and self-healing mechanisms, in which the body is always working to maintain a state of balanced function (Pelkey). The second fundamental principle in osteopathy is holism of the human body, in which the human being is seen as an organic unit. The last principle in the osteopathic philosophy is the reciprocally interrelation between structure and function at all levels of the body (Marieb and Hoehn, 2007). An osteopathic treatment needs to be based on each of these principles (Chila and American Osteopathic Association, 2011; Seffinger et al). In this course work we will focus on the osteopathic principle holism and its history. (Judith)Holism, or ‘the body is an organic unit’, means that although there are a lot of parts in the body, each body part works for the benefit of the others even though each has its own problems and its own function. It is clearly that smooth functioning of each part is important for the optimal efficiency and purpose of the entire organism. This principle also surround that the patient’s physical body interacts with its mind and spirit.
The health of each of these part affects the others parts (Kuchera and Kuchera, 1994). (Judith)HistoryThe term ‘holism’ derives from the Greek word hólos, meaning ‘whole’. Holism is a concept in which is stated that all the properties of a given system (biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, etc.) cannot be determined or explained by the sum of its component parts alone. Instead, the way in which the parts behave are to a great extend determined by the system as a whole and not as a collection of parts (Smuts Hon J.C., 1927). (Mariska)Holism is an idea that has ancient roots.
According to many ethnological studies, examples of holism can be found throughout human history. The oldest reference to the concept of holism can be found several thousand years ago in India, where the Vedic sages believed that the world was an integrated whole (Jackson, 2014). (Mariska)During the ancient age, the idea of holism developed further. Around 460 before Christ, Hippocrates was born on the island of Cos, off the southwest coast of Asia Minor, which is present-day Turkey (Hippocrates, 1849). Hippocrates wrote that the body has blood, phlegm, yellow bile and black bile. He said that these make the nature of the body and that man can feel pain or enjoy health because of these parts.
According to Hippocrates, man has the best health when all of these elements are well proportioned and he stated that when one of the elements is in defect or excess, pain could be felt. (Hippocrates, 1849). (Mariska)In 350 before Christ, Aristotle, a Greek philosopher, captured the essence of holism when he wrote in his Metaphysics that ‘the whole is more than the sum of its parts’ (Upton, Janeka and Ferraro, 2014).
(Mariska)Central to his thinking of Claudius Galenus, a Greek doctor born in Pergamon, was the philosophy of Hippocrates’ theory that the human body is filled with four body fluids. New about Galenus theory (160 years after Christ) was that he connected these fluids to four basic qualities: warm, cold, moist and dry. Phlegm was linked to cold and moist, blood to warm and moist, yellow bile to warm and dry and black bile was linked to the basic qualities cold and dry. This theory dominated medicine for almost 1500 years, until Andreas Vesalius and William Harvey did some research in the anatomy of the human body (Claudius Galenus, 2012). (Judith)Around the year 1980, Bernard d’Espagnat, a French theoretical physicist, philosopher of science and author, wrote that the physical and the mental are two additional aspects of a holistic reality, which also corresponds to the holistic idea (Esfeld, 2001). (Judith)During the early twentieth century, there was a growing trend of interest in the idea of holism in both European and colonial academia (Otto and Bubandt, 2011).
This interest was in reaction to reductionism, a philosophy that states that a complex system can be explained by reduction to its fundamental parts (Otto and Bubandt, 2011). In response to this growing interest, Jan Christiaan Smuts wrote the book ‘Holism and Evolution’ in 1927. In this book, Smuts introduced a term which described the age old philosophy: holism (Smuts Hon J.C., 1927).
(Mariska)Jan Christiaan Smuts (1870-1950) was a South African soldier, statesman and philosopher. He defined Holism as “the tendency in nature to form wholes that are greater than the sum of the parts through creative evolution” (Smuts Hon J.C., 1927). (Mariska)The book that Smuts wrote, Holism and Evolution, is divided in different chapters. In the first chapter, Smuts identified the need for reform in the fundamental concepts of matter, life and mind. In the next chapters, Smuts examined the reformed concepts of space, time, matter and biology and concluded that the close approach to each other and the partial coincide of each other’s domain, implies that there is a fundamental principle: holism.
Chapters 5 and 6 deals about the concept and functions of holism (Smuts Hon J.C., 1927; Crafford, 1946). (Mariska)Smuts’ political and military activities were linked with his ideas of holism. While Smuts was prime minister in 1910, he oversaw the establishment of the Union of South Africa in 1910, which joined together four separate provinces. His aspiration to create a league of nations fits perfectly into the concept of holism. After all, according to the holistic idea, small parts doesn’t stand on their own, but are part of a bigger whole. Because of that, small units should develop into bigger wholes and they in their turn until it results in the great whole: a combination of all the peoples on the earth in a great league of all the nations (Smuts Hon J.
C., 1927; Crafford, 1946). (Mariska)The modern concept of holism is broadly consistent with Smuts’ view, but differs from Smuts’ central idea of holism (Poynton, 1987). Holistic thinking nowadays is aligned with systems theory in opposition to reductionist approaches (Poynton, 1987). (Mariska)Holism is applied on different fields in our current society. Both philosophy and science contain holistic ideas (Young, 2016).
(Mariska)In philosophy, the concepts ‘semantic holism’ and ‘confirmation holism’ were introduced (Quine, 1951; Burge, 1979). Semantic holisms contains that the meaning of a word or a sentence can only be understood in a bigger context (Burge, 1979). Confirmation holism (or its synonym, epistemological holism) is the view that no individual statement can be validated without a set of statements (Quine, 1951; Duhem, 1991). (Mariska)In science, holistic thinking is applied in both physical science as social science.
Agriculture (holistic management), ecology, medicine, neurology, architecture, economics, sociology and theology all have holistic influences (Horn, 2006; Lipowski, 1977; Voisin, Pub and Savory, 1988; Osborne, 2000; Woodward, 2002). (Mariska)In medicine and health, holism gave a new approach in response to the biological mechanist-reductionism that was strongly present in medicine (Harwood, 1999; Freeman, 2005). In the traditional biomedical model, health was viewed as an absenceof pathology. Patients were considered more as diseases than as individuals. In response to this reductionism, holism gave another approach.
In holistic medicine, it is an art and science of caring for a person in a way which considers all aspects of their body, mind, spirituality and emotional state in relation to other individuals and the environment (Harwood, 1999). (Mariska)In biomedicine, holism was put on four different levels of organization. After all, the term ‘holistic’ depends upon where you stand. The lowest level deals about the functioning of particular organs or organ systems. Moving up a level, we can find ‘the body as a whole’.
A next level in medical holism deals about constitutionalist theories of disease, shifting the attention to the interaction between the microbe and its host organism instead of just looking to the microbe. The highest level looks beyond the body and its material environment to look at the psychological and social contexts about health (Lipowski, 1977; Harwood, 1999; Freeman, 2005). (Mariska)The European Academy of Teachers in General Practice defined the holistic approach as ‘the ability to use a bio-psycho-social model, taking into account cultural an existential dimensions’ (EURACT, 2005).
This definition recognizes and emphasizes that all aspects of this world have an impact on the health of the people in it (Engel, 1980; Freeman, 2005). (Mariska)Holism in OsteopathyAndrew Taylor Still born on August 6, 1828 in Lee County, Virginia. During his time as a physician, he saw issues in traditional medicine and searched for an alternative method to treat patients.
In 1874, Doctor Still started the Osteopathic system of health care and years later, in 1892, he opened the first osteopathic medical school (Paulus, 2013; Still, 1897).Although holism was not Still’s idea, he introduced the term holism in Osteopathic medicine. According to Still, human beings function in a dynamic state of holism, which he called connected oneness. Still thought that the human body was like a machine.
Only if all parts of the machine worked optimally and work together, the machine will operate at the optimal level and that is the same with the human body.He believed that all elements of the human body, mind and spirit had to be incorporated into the total care of that person. Doctor Still strongly believed that all involved aspects of the human being (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, psychological, environmental, and others) had to be taken into consideration when a therapist was faced with a patient needing help. Thus, for doctor Still holism was an approach to the patient that required the physician to consider all elements of the human body, the spirit and the mind when preparing a treatment (Hruby, 2014; Chila and American Osteopathic Association, 2011; Still, 1902). (Judith)Thanks to Andrew Taylor Still, osteopathy nowadays looks at all parts of the human being before deciding how to treat a certain problem, rather than constraining attention to the symptomatic area, like medicine often does (Stone, 1999; Hruby, 2014).
Theosteopathic approach unites the structural and functional manifestations of oneness into an interconnected whole (Paulus, 2013). In Osteopathic medicine you learn that any body system does not work in isolation an that symptoms within one system are likely from dysfunction in another system (Stone, 1999). A specific organ or system may become the prime focus of complaint provoking structure, but the effects of the dysfunction structure can be felt in some degree throughout the entire body (Hruby, 2014).Osteopathy also recognizes that emotional factors can have a profound effect on the physiology and the homeostasis of the human body (Hruby, 2014). (Judith)