The History Behind Holistic Health

The ancient roots of holistic health and how the industry has evolved today

Holistic healing has been part of ancient science dating back at least 5,000 years ago. The healers believed that there is a healthy way of living that allows a person to live in harmony with nature. 

The great philosopher Socrates recognized this idea and he suggested that we should take the body as a whole and not part by part. 

Today, we dive into the history behind holistic health, where it came from and how it has become part of our daily lives. 

What Is The Oldest Form Of Healthcare?

Did you know that herbal medicine is the oldest form of healthcare? This is where you achieve a holistic balance and learn about the medicinal properties of plants. Western herbalism originated in Ancient Greece and Rome, then spread to Europe, then North and South America. Healers would treat sick people with herbs, flowers and other materials that they found in nature. This is where healers began to learn the healing properties of each natural material.

Where Did Holistic Health Originate From?

Long before X-rays and antibiotics, healers knew the importance of emotional and spiritual well being. They knew that the two elements played a role in achieving physical health. It is hard to say where holistic health came from because each culture has its own story to tell. 

 2 of the most well documented holistic health traditions are Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as Ayurveda

It is estimated that Chinese Medicine has been around for almost 5,000 years and it has continued to evolve into a treatment method that is still being practised today. 

Ayurveda on the other hand, originated in India in the 6th century by Sushruta known as “the father of surgery”. This modality focuses on the 5 elements of the universe, the seven elements of the body, and the three “doshas” or biological energies that each element represents.

Holistic Health and Modern Medicine 

Hippocrates lived in the 4th century. He was known as the father of medicine. He had a strong belief in encouraging people to learn how to self-heal the body. There was a constant debate between supporting the body and intervening with the body’s natural way to self-heal. These debates happened all the time under the scientific revolution of the 19th century. 

As we began to evolve, science proved that illness and disease were caused by germs. Slowly but surely, people stopped putting the focus on the other elements that might make people sick and only focused on science and what germs and bacteria did to the body. This ideology made people more sceptical about the holistic approach to treating the body. It was easier to take a pill and get rid of the symptom than to look at the cause of the symptom in the first place.  

It was then discovered that not all medicine can cure disease and many scientific treatments failed. Holistic medicine came back and taught people about living a healthy lifestyle, environmental factors that can cause harm as well as the importance of emotional health. More people began to look into treating the body from a holistic point of view and the Modern Western Holistic Movement was born. 

The Modern Western Holistic Movement

This movement began in the late 1960s. People started to realize that modern medicine focused too much on drugs and medical technology for diagnosing and treating diseases. Soon after, people began to see that Holistic practitioners have the same degrees as traditional doctors do but they have extra training in herbal therapies, nutrition and so on. 

Did you know that The first National Conference on Holistic Health came to California in 1975? Shortly after the Holistic Medical Association came in 1978. Finally, The American Holistic Nurses Association came in 1981. Since then, people have begun to believe that there is proof and reason to start treating the body from a holistic approach once again. 

Holistic Health Today 

Over one-third of Americans, today use complementary and alternative medicine to help heal their body. Acupuncture is one of the most well known alternative healing therapies in the world today. 

People tend to be more concerned about their overall well-being. They now have a better understanding that for you to be healthy, you need to treat your mind, body and soul together. Instead of just treating the symptoms, they are now looking into the cause of the symptom in the first place. 

It is unfortunate to say that we live in a time of great imbalance. There are more chemicals around us than ever before. We do not have a work and home balance. In general, we lead very stressful lifestyles and this leads to unhealthy habits, bad health and poor mental health. 

Even though some conventional doctors do not practice holistic treatments, there are hundreds of trained holistic practitioners that want to help you and your body. 

A 2012 study proves that massage helps to speed up muscle healing, reduces inflammation and promotes mitochondrial growth. This is just one of the holistic modalities that people use daily to try to help maintain a holistically, healthy body. 


“Want to know one of the most rewarding and holistic ways to heal & make significant life choices that will fully align? Learning to slow down, breath, think, journal, talk, and process before reacting. Knowing you have worked through the issue, be it mentally, emotionally or spiritually, before taking action lets you write the script of your life how you want. Which in turn gives you the best chance of achieving your dreams”- Natasha Potter 

The holistic health industry is growing every day. More and more people are starting to see the benefits of treating their bodies from a holistic point of view. They might turn to homoeopathy to treat hayfever, massage to treat muscle pain, journaling to help with their mental state and herbology to help with stomach aches.