Andrew Taylor Still viewed the body as a whole and promoted a holistic approach in his practice (1). He understood that all of the body’s systems were integrated (2) and each system supported the others, providing specific roles in the overall function of the body itself. Holism is the idea that a natural system should be viewed as a whole rather than a sum of its parts. The term, originally introduced in 1926 by South African statesman Jan Smuts.
Wolfgang Schad took the idea of holism and applied it with Goethe’s ideas of morphology, doing the most intricate study of this kind detailed in his book Man and Mammals. He stated: “In life causes and effects take place simultaneously and complement one another. For this reason the organism always presents itself as a whole.” (3).
When applying this to human biology it can be hard to not settle back in to the more comfortable perspective of anatomy and physiology, applying ‘reductionist’ views and segregating the parts as individual aspects.
Not only are the structures all connected by means of fascia but the functions of all components are interrelated in order to maintain a required equilibrium of the internal environment, also known as homeostatic mechanisms.
The elements are all regulated by the body’s nervous system, which controls the musculoskeletal and visceral functions; the endocrine system, which maintains hormone levels and the immune system which protects the body (4).
This principle is strongly related to the other three and considered the more important of the principles, hopefully the relation will become more apparent in the details of the remaining principles.