Holistic nursing is the treatment of an entire being rather than simply treating a disorder or disease. This includes medical theories and principals of the western world but also identifies with other components of the human being, such as spirit, emotion, environment and culture. The goal of the holistic nurse is to identify what the individual’s idea of health and healing is and facilitate a treatment plan to enhance the entire well being of the individual. Holistic nurses act as a partner to the individual, aiding them in their journey through therapeutic treatment. The practice is built on the philosophy that all elements in life are connected; self, nature, spirit and others. Each aspect influences the other, and can dynamically impact the overall health of an individual (American Holistic Nurses Association, 2009). The fundamental basis for Holistic nurses is incorporated into their ethics and theory based practices. Below you will find a brief overview on the principal ethics of holistic nurses, followed by selected complementary healing techniques; energetic healing and spirituality and healing. (Emily, content editor)


Holistic Nursing is a philosophy of holism, healing and spirituality. Holistic nursing uses the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model to take into consideration the whole being of a patient. It is understood in holistic nursing that disease and illness have an impact on all four components of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model and contributes to the individual’s symptoms, preferred methods of treatments, and overall concepts of healing. Holistic nursing is a nursing theory that places emphasis on how each component of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model has the ability to be interdependent and interrelating. It is a theory that acknowledges that patients/clients are more than just the disease or illness they present with. It uses the theory of natural systems that caring for a patient requires the consideration of body, mind and spirit/soul. It is a human caring process; it is caring for the whole self of the patient through traditional and alternative approaches to achieving holism and optimal quality of life (Montgomery Dossey, B., Keegan, L., & Guzzetta, C., 2004). (Ashley Y, content editor)


Holistic ethics are based on the need for spirituality in the healthcare system. To practice holistic ethics is to understand the individual as a mind-spirit-body unity. Every individual is in control of their own health, and should actively participate in decisions regarding this. Holistic nurses identify the importance of the patient and their family’s idea of spirituality, and uniquely respect these beliefs. Society has a very diverse culture, composed of many different belief systems, treatments, and values. Respecting these beliefs is the key aspect of holistic nursing and basis of holistic ethics. Nurse’s primary concerned is to care for the patient's physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Nurses promote health, healing, dignity and safety by reducing suffering and advocating for the patient (Slater, 2007). They provide hope and strength to the patient through their partnership. Holistic care is a profound way to touch another human being, as well as to provide better quality patient care within the healthcare system. (Mila,design lead)


Energetic Healing

Energetic healing is a term that is used to describe any therapy that assists the body to regain balance and facilitate natural healing mechanisms. Energetic healing implies that healing can occur at the electromagnetic level of the body, the electromagnetic field is known as an aura. There are electrical currents that course along parallel corridors, called meridians. Electric energy and information is transmitted throughout the body by way of the meridians. The physical body uses the energy and the body's consciousness defines the information transmitted. Once the flow of electricity and information is terminated, the body then dies (Slater, 1997). Examples of energetic healing are healing touch, magnetic therapy, reiki, therapeutic touch, and meditation. Reiki, one of the most popular forms of energetic healing, includes the use of hands and visualization which direct energy to the body to facilitate healing and relaxation. Reiki promotes mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual balance (American Holistic Nurses Association, 2009). (Claire, project manager)

Retrieved from http://www.integratedenergytherapy.net

Spirituality and Healing

Spirituality and healing can be defined as a critical component of a person’s wholeness that is carried out through their lives. Examples of this would be grief, loss, values and end-of-life issues. Each individual’s spirituality is unique to the individual. To some people spirituality is expressed as religion which involves particular rituals and behaviours unique to their practice. Spiritual beliefs provide meaning and direction to some people's lives. To others, spirituality has a broader meaning than religion and cannot be defined by a mere action. Blonna (2007) defines spirituality as a “belief in or a relationship with a higher power, creative force, divine being, or infinite source of energy” (p 101). Holistic nurses believe in the effectiveness of spiritual care, and use spiritual interventions consistently in situations when patients experienced serious or complex emotional situations. When spiritual care is given, patients may experience inner peace, physical relaxation, and a decrease in physical pain (Grant , 2004). (Cindy C. multimedia)

External Links





American Holistic Nurses Association. (2009), Holistic nursing. Retrieved from http://www.ahna.org/AboutUs/tabid/1158/Default.aspx

Grant, D. (2004). Spiritual interventions: how, when, and why nurses use them. Holistic Nursing Practice,18, 36-41. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14765691

Laukhuf, G. & Werner, H. (1998). Spirituality: the missing link (spirtual nursing care). Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 30 (1), 60-68. Retrieved from http://www.ahna.org/new/speciality.html

Montgomery Dossey, B., Keegan, L. & Guzzetta, C. (2004). Holistic Nursing a Handbook for Practice,18,36-41. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14765691

Slater, V. E. (1997). Energetic healing. In Montgomery Dossey, B. (Ed.), Core curriculum for holistic nursing (pp. 52-58). Retrieved from http://www.googlebooks.ca