A body-mind-spirit model in health: an Eastern approach

Author: Chan C//Ho PS//Chow E
Faculty of Social Sciences,and Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. cecichan@hku.hk
Conference/Journal: Soc Work Health Care
Date published: 2001
Other: Volume ID: 34 , Issue ID: 3-4 , Pages: 261-82 , Word Count: 188

Under the division of labor of Western medicine, the medical physician treats the body of patients, the social worker attends to their emotions and social relations, while the pastoral counselor provides spiritual guidance. Body, mind, cognition, emotion and spirituality are seen as discrete entities. In striking contrast, Eastern philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism and traditional Chinese medicine adopt a holistic conceptualization of an individual and his or her environment. In this view, health is perceived as a harmonious equilibrium that exists between the interplay of 'yin' and 'yang': the five internal elements (metal, wood, water, fire and earth), the six environmental conditions (dry, wet, hot, cold, wind and flame), other external sources of harm (physical injury, insect bites, poison, overeat and overwork), and the seven emotions (joy, sorrow, anger, worry, panic, anxiety and fear). The authors have adopted a body-mind-spirit integrated model of intervention to promote the health of their Chinese clients. Indeed, research results on these body-mind-spirit groups for cancer patients, bereaved wives and divorced women have shown very positive intervention outcomes. There are significant improvements in their physical health, mental health, sense of control and social support.