The importance of a holistic concept of health for health care. Examples from the clinic


Abstract
One of my main points in this study is that the knowledge of orthodox medical theory is an incomplete guide for practical action when relating to our patients' specifically human problems. By following a holistic perspective on patients' health and on our medical enterprise we will be more efficient as doctors. This standpoint is illuminated by means of two case reports. Instead of focusing on symptoms as such and letting them refer to orthodox medical theory, I explicitly relate to the patients as if they are conveying a personal meaning by means of experienced symptoms. The experience of illness could be a successful strategy on the existential level although destructive on the technical biological level. A holistic theory of health can give doctors a good conceptual base when relating to people whose presented illnesses are to be regarded explicitly as their way of making themselves understood. The doctor's understanding of the patient's illness, of the theory of health, and of how health is regained, is dependent on the doctor's having the courage to reduce the distance to the patient, the courage to participate and be changed.
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