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Various concepts associated with holistic medicine began with the New Age movement, and has always been a focus of New Age practice.

Holistic health is a term that is used in reference to therapies that purport to treat the patient as a whole. In other words, rather than treating an illness, holistic medicine considers the individual's overall emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, with the aim of treating the entire person. Holistic health programs also try to prevent illness through an emphasis on optimizing health.

Holistic health practitioners view body systems as interdependent parts of a person's whole being, and that the natural state of a human being is one of health; therefore disease represents an imbalance in the body's systems. Holistic medicine emphasizes proper nutrition and the avoidance of artificial substances, such as chemicals and most pharmaceuticals, believing that they pollute the body.

Many New Age health concepts are not new to the world. In the 4th century BCE, Socrates warned against treating only one part of the body, and Hippocrates recognized that many factors contributed to the overall health of a human being.

However, the term "holistic" didn't become part of the language until the 1970s, when it became a focus of New Age life and practice.

Several New Age holistic health practices, such as chiropractic care, have been accepted as mainstream medical care. Others, such as acupuncture, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, and herbal medicine, are somewhat less accepted, but more so than aura cleansing, crystal therapies, Reiki, and other New Age practices, some of which are no longer part of the standard holistic regimen, although still practiced by New Agers.

Seeking greater acceptance, the field of holistic medicine has left some of the New Age practices behind, but New Agers have not.

By the 1970s, the holistic health movement was a network of healers shaped by the 1960s New Age counterculture.

New Holistic Health Handbook: Living Well in a New Age, published by Berkeley Holistic Health Center in the mid-1970s, reveals the close connections between the New Age movement and holistic medicine. Its preface speaks of the connections between inner and outer worlds, individuals and society, and the human race and the earth. A major shift from the book's first edition is the inclusion of more medical doctors as authors, and a reduction on emphasis on the spiritual aspects of holistic health.

Although some people turn to holistic medicine when traditional treatments have failed, holistic health reflects the values of the New Age movement. This is particularly seen in its emphasis on interconnectedness, and in the view that the self mirrors society. New Agers believe that the inner life of an individual is shaped by society, and personal transformation has the power to transform the world. Holistic health means taking care of yourself and the world because one cannot be healthy without the other.

Not only do New Agers seek to treat the individual as a whole but they consider the individual's place in society in the three types of holistic healing: self-healing, healing others, and healing the planet. These can be channeled in a number of ways, including chanting, crystal work, dance, drumming, laying on of hands, meditation, rattle-shaking, and visualization, as well as some of the more traditional aspects of holistic medicine.

, Unlike traditional medicine, holistic health includes self-healing methodologies. This might involve some kind of internal process intended to heal emotional wounds from the past, current psychological problems, and physical ailments. In these sessions, energy work is directed internally, with the intention of bringing about changes within the self. New Age healers often focus on teaching New Agers to practice self-healing.

Another type of New Age healing practice is the healer-client relationship, in which the healer has special gifts, such as a therapeutic touch or clairvoyance, which are drawn upon for a diagnosis or healing. Some New Age healers believe that their practice comes from their ability to travel to the spirit world and speak with spirits or spirit guides. Others simply offer knowledge that clients have not yet attained.

New Agers also believe that they have an obligation to society and to the earth, which is reflected in various forms of environmental activism.

New Agers do not always reject the traditional medical approach, and sometimes work in concert with other medical practitioners, some of whom have also embraced holistic medicine.

Controversies over alternative healing treatments have been a part of the New Age movement from the start. Courts have frequently intervened to require traditional medical practices, particularly where children are concerned.

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