For Consumers

Discover holistic nursing

This section of our Web site is designed for healthcare consumers and others of the general public who want to know more about holistic nursing. Here you will find helpful definitions, a list of holistic modalities and nursing interventions, a directory of practitioners and much more.
What is holism?
"Holism” in health care is a philosophy that emanated directly from Florence Nightingale, who believed in care that focused on unity, wellness, and the interrelationship of human beings, events, and environment. Even Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, espoused a holistic orientation when he taught doctors to observe their patients’ life circumstances and emotional states. Socrates stated, “Curing the soul; that is the first thing.”

What is holistic nursing?
Holistic nursing is defined as “all nursing practice that has healing the whole person as its goal” (AHNA 1998).
A holistic nurse is a registered/licensed nurse, who takes a mind-body-spirit-emotion approach to the practice of traditional nursing. Holistic nurses encourage their patients to take responsibility for their own individual wellness through positive lifestyle changes and daily self-care. Holistic nurses listen to their patients and empower them with the knowledge they need to live healthier, more balanced lives.


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Holistic nursing focuses on protecting, promoting, and optimizing health wellness, preventing illness and injury, alleviating suffering, and supporting people to find peace, comfort, harmony, and balance.

Practicing holistic nursing encourages nurses to integrate self-care, self-responsibility, spirituality, and reflection in their own lives. This awareness further enhances nurses’ understanding of all individuals and their relationships to the human and global community, and it permits nurses to use this awareness to facilitate the healing process.

Where can I find a holistic nurse?
Holistic nurses work in a variety of settings, from hospitals to universities, and private practices. Many holistic nurses have become personal wellness coaches or consultants to institutions that are working to integrate complementary and alternative therapies / medicine (CAM). Others are nurse practitioners who (depending on the state they live in), can perform many of the same services as a general physician (such as prescribing medicine, etc.). Many of our members have chosen to be listed in our Practitioner Directory for public viewing. We also suggest calling your local hospital, clinic or physician’s office and asking if they employ holistic nurses.

What is a modality?
A modality is a specific approach to or method for healing. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) divides the various Complimentary and Alternative modalities into four categories: (1) mind-body medicine, (2) biologically based practices, (3) manipulative and body-based practices, and (4) energy medicine. These modalities include a wide variety of approaches, from acupuncture to nutrition to meditation to chiropractic. In addition, NCCIH studies whole medicine systems, such as homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, and Ayurveda.

Some holistic nurses specialize in one or more modalities, such as energetic healing or bodywork, and maintain separate certifications to legally practice these in their individual states.

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