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Evaluation of Biomedical and Holistic Models of Health

Info: 2320 words (9 pages) Nursing Essay
Published: 4th Dec 2020

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This essay will discuss and evaluate the Biomedical and the Hostlic model including the positive and negative approaches towards health.  The contraindication when combining alternative and covenantal medicine together followed by the alternative approaches to health will also be discussed.

A positive view of health is maintaining and achieving a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. Taking supplements for mental and physical well-being the individual may regard running and walking in a positive view. Feeling good within yourself is a good indicator of good health.

 Having a positive view of your health can have its consequences physically and mentally.

Physical activity can become unhealthy when it's taken to extreme measures. These individuals normally start off at a moderate pace to stay healthy but slowly become obsessed with fitness and health. This compulsive behaviour could lead to heart and arteries been damage due to excessive training. Which could put them in the high-risk category to have a heart attack (NHS, 2019). Other health-related implications can occur such as health anxiety (hypochondria ).  This is when the individual starts to become paranoid, about any slight changes to their health and well being and the person may want constant reassurance about their health from their doctor  (NHS, 2019).

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 Another obsessive behaviour when discussing a positive view of health is supplement abuse (NHS, 2019)  states that taking dietary supplements doesn’t actually make you live any longer, it causes more damage to your inertial organs. There has been some research done by (NHS, 2019) suggesting that certain supplements like calcium and iron when used excessively, can actually cause cancer and brittle bones.

A negative view on health is believing you don’t have to go to the local General practitioner because you feel ok within yourself. Due to not seeing any physical evidence or symptoms of illness such as blood and vomiting,  they automatically assume they are healthy. (BMJ , 2014) Individuals like this regard good health as normal and they do the minimum to maintain their health.

The Problem with the negative attitude towards health is it puts the individual at a huge disadvantage regarding their own health as certain diseases may only show physical symptoms when the disease may become untreatable, such as pancreatic cancer and heart disease.  Diseases only show symptoms when it gets to the untreatable stage. These individuals tend to live a shorter life than the general population, as they don’t act upon changes in their health or physical well -being. Their attitude towards health is normally “it can't be that serious because it comes and goes (BMJ , 2014),

In the 19th century, a physician called Abraham Flexner put together a report called the Flexner report. The report would transform medical education and training forever, from the report came the biomedical model. The Biomedical model is a scientific method used by clinicians and other health professionals. It treats the human body as a very complex device and advocates the treatment of symptoms through the use of medical intervention. (Findlay, 1973) The main objective of the biomedical model is to focus on the human body solely and treat the illness and diseases sperate from the mind.

The biomedical model of health has many Advantages. It shows to have a high success rate regarding research and diagnosis of humans and depending on the illness you can use the model to learn about the disease and avoid it recurring. The model states health can be restored through treatment and a variety of techniques including nuclear (Findlay, 1973) medication and drugs.

Example, if you fracture your leg you can have surgery which will allow you to walk again. Another Postive would be all women who are registered with their local Gp are (Cancer Research UK, 2019) offered breast cancer screening and smear tests this intervention can target a larger audience also prevents delay in diagnosis. Many illnesses can be treated through medical intervention and advance research.

According to (Johnson, D., 2012) The biomedical model was hugely successful. At the beginning of the 20th century, the leading causes of death were tuberculosis, pneumonia, influenza and diarrhoea. The model's germ theory of disease essentially eliminated these infectious diseases as the primary cause of death. By the end of the 20th century, people died of chronic disease heart disease, cancer and stroke and life expectancy had increased from 47 years in 1900 to 77 years in 2003.

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The biomedical model fails to include other factors like psychosocial that are sometimes found to be the main influences of illness. The model fails to address any illness or disease which doesn’t display any physical signs and symptoms. According to (Foucault, 1973)  In his criticism of the model, he states Doctors see their patients like robots in need of repair as the medical glaze by this means the patients aren’t seen as individuals more as a category of illness such as person A heart disease, person B cancer. The individuals' background is overlooked. (Foucault, 1973) also suggested that due to medicine and science  that doctors are solely focused on the function and structure of the human body and they don’t consider any other factors which may contribute to illnesses such as poverty, stress and poor housing.

The Holistic Model of health focuses on the whole person instead of specific parts of the body like the biomedical model. Many Holistic Doctors believe all parts of the human body work in sync with one another. If one part of the body, isn’t working properly then the rest of the body doesn’t work. The main objective of the holistic Doctor is not to solely examine the body but to understand why it is happening.  For instance, if a patient states they are (NHS, 2019) constantly having headaches the Doctor may prescribe them with some temporary pain- relief to ease the pain but not gain any further information into the patient's life to see if any changes can be done to reduce the headache from reoccurring in the near future.

 The holistic model presents many disadvantages,  if you have a serious medical illness such as aids or cancer the time spent looking for other treatments can cause the diseases to spread which could lead the disease to become untreatable and the patient having a shorter life. Holistic drugs don’t always reveal the true ingredients on the packaging, so you could take a holistic medication which may have a contraindication when taking conventional medication. Due to the lack of regulations and rigorous testing, some herbal medicines have been added to the government's list of  (MHRA). The Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency is there to make sure all medical products comply with the law. (GOV.UK, 2014) one of the more notable band substances is called Adonide, Annuelle also known as pheasant eye, this drug is used in many herbal medications this drug can become very dangerous if used excessively it can cause irregular heartbeats, vomiting and sore eyes.

The holistic model has many positives such as yoga, massages and homoeopathy which are proven to help reduce stress. These treatments have a positive outcome on our bodies. It lowers abuse on binge eating and drinking. The Holistic approach takes into consideration the whole person including their psychological and emotional health. More holistic treatments are getting recognized. According to the (GOV.UK, 2018) have announced that patients can be prescribed medicinal cannabis by specialist doctors from the 1st November 2018. Introduced by (The Times, 2018) severely epileptic boy Billy Caldwell from Castlederg in Nothern Ireland has been granted the use of cannabis oil from home secretary Sajid Javid after an emergency intervention took place in parliament. The drug would only be prescribed to those with serious cases of epilepsy and chemotherapy patients.

Alternative medication is a treatment which is alternative to mainstream medication.  One of the most important medicines is herbal medicine which uses herbs and plants as an alternative.  Many doctors have growing concerns over alternative medication as a lot of people tend to accidentally use conventional medication alongside alternative medication. (NHS, 2019) Example a patient had been taking alternative medication for a headache but the headaches appeared to be getting worse so the patient took conventional medication, from their doctor to ease the pain. This combination can cause a contraindication effect which can cause serious harm or even death to the patient.

The main problem with alternative medicine and therapies, according to (NHS, 2019) if they are prescribed by the NHS most of them are outside your geographic area and the private centres are far too expensive which are normally closer to home this can cause a great deal of stress to the patient who are seeking this type of treatment. Some doctors believe alternative therapies are not feasible as it puts unwanted pressure on them and the rest of the staff team. Recently the (telegraph, 2018) stated that high court backed (NHS, 2019) decision to stop funding alternative treatments as Matt Hancock Health minister stated the NHS need to put the extra funds into social care instead of alternative medicine. On the 13th March 2018 United kingdom's biggest hospital for alternative treatments, The Royal London hospital for integrated medicine will no longer provide homoeopathic treatments on the NHS (Nursing Times , 2018) . As the government look to save money some health commissioners felt it was a misuse use of public funding wasted on a placebo type therapies. The Clinical Commissioning Group for University hospital Bristol stated it was cutting the funds for alternative medication due to spending over £110,456 on 41 patients in the Bristol area on homoeopathic therapy. They felt the cost of staffing and recruitment in this area wasn’t sustainable to keep. (Good Thinking , 2018)  also unrealistic area to keep funding without outside investment. Currently, Gartnavel General Hospital in Scotland is the only place in the United Kingdom which offers integrated medicine.


The biomedical of health is the most trusted model which is used worldwide by many health professionals to heal and treat. When compared with other health models such as the holistic model which simply focuses on the whole person. I  have discovered more people are searching for alternatives medicine, knowing the biomedical model is always there which gives many people a safety net to fall back on when trying non-conventional medication . in some cases such the severely epileptic boy, Billy Caldwell, alternative medication has triumphed and worked well. When speaking about attitudes towards health, you have to find the right balance as spoken in the essay an excessive amount of anything can cause implications on the body. In my findings, I've learnt that both biomedical and holistic model can possibly work together to deliver better care to patients only under the supervision from a clinician.


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