People are very complex. Each person brings his or her own experiences with them everywhere they go; constantly rifling through the pages of their life’s book, and anxious to fill each new blank page. Each person is constantly learning, changing, growing. And for this very reason, that each of us are different and unique, shows us that no matter how similar we can be to any other human being, we each need care that is as individual and unique as ourselves.
When I look at a person, I contemplate how they got to this exact place at this moment in time, their experiences, their opportunities in life, their choices, and how they all came together and formed who they are. I like to take a Holistic view on people, and view them as one being. Mind, body, spirit, and material, it’s all what makes up a person and why they are unique. Let’s look at how that would influence my professional future in the medical field.
To take a Materialistic approach and assume a person is just a physical substance without any immaterial meaning, in my opinion, would be unmindful. For example, I can see how Measurement Materialism can play a role by things like the amount of pressure put on a joint, and how big of an angle a joint can stretch. However, “Measurement Materialists underestimate how difficult it is to achieve pure objectivity” (Kretchmar, 2005). Even with those specific measurements there is still subjectivity in what the data actually means.
The angle of the patient’s arm stretch mean that’s as far the patient can physically stretch under those conditions. Perhaps there is a way to influence or manipulate the patient into stretching the arm further under different conditions, which would be their true maximal range of motion, which will in turn give the Physical Therapist a more accurate measurement and a probable outcome of the patient healing faster? This could be by means of massage the muscles, working through the effect that pain has on a patient psychologically, or simply just giving them a better motivation. These are all factors that can effect a patient’s well-being.
When diagnosing and caring for a patient, we need to take into consideration everything the patient is experiencing; good, bad, and indifferent, to fully understand how to correctly diagnose and care for a patient. Which is why I put so much value in a Holistic approach. “The holistic approach to health differs from the conventional medical approach in that it takes into account the whole patient rather than just focusing on the symptom or the part that has the problem” (Sivasubramoney, 2011).
I work at a children’s hospital, and there is an entire department called Child Life, to make sure the children are enjoying themselves, to the best they can that give them toys, games, crafts, and can even play musical instruments with Music Therapy. The patients there actually heal faster as a direct result of being able to do what their very nature tells them to do. Play. Now imagine if a doctor treated a child as just a body that needed to heal from its injury. Propped it up and made it stay in bed, simply giving it time and medication to heal. How impactful would that be as opposed to letting the spirit of the child roam free through different ways of expressing themselves! I have seen first-hand the meaningfulness and purposefulness this holistic method of a child healing is.
I absolutely love how Suzan Walter sums up Holistic medicine. “In holistic medicine, a symptom is considered a message that something needs attention. So, the symptom is used as a guide to look below the surface for the root cause. Then what really needs attention can be addressed” (Walter, 1999). Holistic healing gets to the root of the problem, usually by unorthodox means that we’re used to at a hospital.
My Holistic view of a person will absolutely affect my future professional behavior hands down. I honestly can’t view my patient’s health care any other way. It needs to be Holistic. To actually heal a patient would be to fix the problem indefinitely, not a temporary ease of pain. Bringing a Holist view to my professional career would cause me to bring the patient in as a partner in their own healing. We will work together to find the best solution possible.
Kretchmar, R. Scott, “Practical Philosophy of Sport and Physical Activity.” 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics (2005): 69. Print.
Sivasubramoney, Krishnan. “Holistic Approach to Health and Healing.” (2011) Web.
Walter, Suzan. “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Body-Mind Disciplines.” Raritan (1999). The Rosen Publishing Group. Web.