Holistic medicine is an approach to health care that involves the whole person, meaning the mind and spirit are considered along with the body in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness. A key guiding principle of holistic health care is that physical, mental, and emotional well-being each play essential roles in overall health. When one of these aspects of the self is out of balance, the entire body is affected.
In addition to emphasizing the whole self, holistic medicine focuses on prevention as a key goal of care. The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) regards "optimal health [as] much more than the absence of sickness. It is the conscious pursuit of the highest qualities of the physical, environmental, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social aspects of the human experience."