The Use of Traditional and Holistic Intervention in Nursing


For a long time now, pharmacologic interventions have been used in the treatment and management of health problems in human beings. When sick people visit a healthcare facility, they expect to be given medicine or injections that will cure their ailments. In fact, there have been cases of patients demanding for medicine or injections in case the health care provider fails to prescribe some for them. As such, there is the belief that pharmacological intervention is the only remedy for most of the ailments. However, given the health issues that could come up because of prolonged use of pharmaceuticals, health care providers and consumers have decided to seek other ways of managing health problems. This has in turn led to the use of holistic and traditional interventions, which have proven to be economic and non-invasive. This paper is therefore an in-depth analysis of the use of holistic and traditional interventions in nursing.

Traditional Intervention

Traditional intervention entails the incorporation of traditional spiritual therapists and traditional medical practitioners in the provision of health care. Traditional intervention is therefore an alternative method of treating the sick. In traditional intervention, the health care providers seek the help of traditional herbs and medicines to cure health problems instead of giving pharmaceuticals. Traditional birth attendants are a clear example of the application of traditional intervention in health care provision. Given the many complications experienced by women during childbirth, most of the women have turned to traditional birth attendants who seem to be caring unlike the trained nurses.

Holistic Intervention

Holistic intervention was introduced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Its origin can be traced back from the Nightingale’s model of nursing, which emphasized on naturalistic healing methods (King and Gates, 2007, p. 310). Holistic intervention involves therapeutic application on the different body systems as a curative method. It generally entails the employment of homeopathy and natural therapeutic methods such as biological herbal remedies (King and Gates, 2007, p. 309). Some examples of the therapeutic interventions include humor, music, and storytelling just to mention a few. Holistic intervention is conducted in such a way that the patient undergoes the therapy without any complaints. The health care providers make sure that the patient accepts the therapy applied given the health benefits it has and its cost effectiveness compared to the pharmaceuticals.

The uses of Holistic and traditional interventions in nursing

Holistic and traditional interventions form alternative treatments for most ailments treated using pharmaceuticals. The use of alternative treatment methods has significantly increased in the recent past because of the negative health impacts of pharmaceuticals and the need to reduce health care costs. This has in turn made most of the health care customers and providers prefer holistic and traditional interventions to the pharmaceuticals. The alternative treatment methods can be applied to a wide range of ailments ranging from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, to emotional and mental health issues among others.

The main goal of holistic intervention in nursing is healing the ‘whole person’. As such, the health care provider ensures that the patient does not only recover physically but also psychologically. As such, holistic intervention involves having the patient counseled in order to recover from any distress they could be undergoing. It has been noted that most patients suffering from terminal aliments such as cancer and AIDS normally suffer from emotional and mental disorders because of their condition. It is because of this that holistic intervention is applied on such patients to make them recover in whole from the condition (Wright et al., 2011, p. 1422). For instance, patients suffering from HIV related diseases face a lot of stigma in the communities they live in. Therefore, it is important that the patients are not only treated of the condition but also counseled to make them overcome the stigma.

In most of the holistic interventions, spiritual guidance is embraced to make the patient feel safe spiritually. When effectively pursued, spiritual guidance gives the patient a certain degree of calmness making them at peace with themselves and those around them. This kind of holistic intervention is commonly applied to patients with mental health problems. It can therefore be deduced that holistic intervention aims at creating mutual connectedness in the emotional, spiritual, and mental wellbeing of an individual (Stuber and Horn, 2012). Traditional intervention on the other hand seeks to create some harmony between an individual, family, and the community at large. Unlike holistic intervention, traditional intervention is a broad spectrum of therapies.

Developments in traditional and holistic interventions

Since their introduction the healthcare industry, traditional and holistic interventions have undergone several developments. This is because upon introduction, the health care providers were quick to embrace the change and implement the alternative treatment methods in their operations. Since then, research has been undergoing to establish the best ways of incorporating holistic and traditional interventions in treatment of patients. Among the recent developments in alternative treatment methods is the bio-psycho-social model. “According to this model, all diseases have some component of psycho logic, psychosomatic, social, and biological factors in the symptoms of the disease. The aforementioned factors are however interdependent and interrelated” (Stuber and Horn, 2012). As such, in order to get rid of the disease from the individual, all the four parameters have to be acted upon. This therefore calls for the intervention of holistic and traditional treatment methods.

Technological advances and the need for safer internal and external environments have also increased the demand for holistic and traditional intervention. Unlike in the ancient days, people are now aware of the dangers of consuming many chemicals in the body. As such, they would try as much as they can to minimize the amounts of chemical substances getting into their bodies. Thus, when people get sick, they prefer traditional and holistic interventions as treatment methods instead of taking medicine or injections. It is also for the same reason that the demand for psychologists and sociologists has gone up in the recent past.


From the above discussion, it is clear that health care has undergone tremendous attributed to the technological, social, and economical changes in the world. Health care has greatly revolved because of the introduction of holistic and traditional interventions in nursing. For one, holistic and traditional interventions have proven to be cost effective compared to pharmacology, thus gaining much preference from many people in the society. Moreover, unlike the pharmaceuticals, holistic and traditional interventions have less health effects on the patient’s body since they do not involve consumption of chemicals, which could be harmful to the body. Finally yet importantly, holistic and traditional interventions go further to healing the physical body as they also ensure that the psychological and mental health problems are taken care of.

Reference List

King, M., and Gates, M. (2007). Teaching Holistic Nursing: The Legacy of Nightingale. Nursing Clinics of North America, 42(2), 309-333.

Stuber, M., and Horn, B. (2012). Complementary, alternative, and integrative medicine: Oxford Textbook of Spirituality in Healthcare. Oxford: Oxford Univ press.

Wright, S. et al. (2011). Holistic System of Care: Evidence of Effectiveness. Native American Health Center. 46(11), 1420-1430.