Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Volume 7, Pages 1978-1986
Research Article

Biomedicine or Holistic Medicine for Treating Mentally Ill Patients? A Philosophical and Economical Analysis

1Quality of Life Research Center, Teglgårdstræde 4-8, DK-1452 Copenhagen K, Denmark
2Research Clinic for Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
3Nordic School of Holistic Medicine, Copenhagen, Denmark
4Scandinavian Foundation for Holistic Medicine, Sandvika, Norway
5Interuniversity College, Graz, Austria
6Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Behavioral Sciences, Ariel University Center, Samaria, Ariel, Israel
7National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Jerusalem, Israel
8Office of the Medical Director, Division for Mental Retardation, Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem, Israel
9Kentucky Children's Hospital, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA

Received 15 August 2007; Revised 15 October 2007; Accepted 18 October 2007

Academic Editor: Mohammed Morad

Copyright © 2007 Søren Ventegod et al.


Today we have two scientific medical traditions, two schools or treatment systems: holistic medicine and biomedicine. The two traditions are based on two very different philosophical positions: subjectivistic and objectivistic. The philosopher Buber taught us that you can say I-Thou or I-It, holding the other person as a subject or an object. These two fundamentally different attitudes seem to characterize the difference in world view and patient approach in the two schools, one coming from psychoanalysis and the old, holistic tradition of Hippocratic medicine. Holistic medicine during the last decade has developed its philosophical positions and is today an independent, medical system seemingly capable of curing mentally ill patients at the cost of a few thousand Euros with no side effects and with lasting value for the patient. The problem is that very few studies have tested the effect of holistic medicine on mentally ill patients. Another problem is that the effect of holistic medicine must be documented in a way that respects this school's philosophical integrity, allowing for subjective assessment of patient benefit and using the patient as his/her own control, as placebo control cannot be used in placebo-only treatment. As the existing data are strongly in favor of using holistic medicine, which seems to be safer, more efficient, and cheaper, it is recommended that clinical holistic medicine also be used as treatment for mental illness. More research and funding is needed to develop scientific holistic medicine.