Holistic Health and the Environment

Essay by vavolaUniversity, Bachelor's November 2007

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Thesis:What measures can be taken to minimize the effects of poor indoor air quality of the average household in order to facilitate the practice of holistic health?Indoor air quality took centre stage in the 1970's when the negative health effects of asbestos in schools and households became apparent. Considering that the average North American spends 90% of his time indoors (Billac, 1999, p. 10), air quality plays an important role in the increasingly popular "holistic health revolution" in twenty-first century North America (Trivieri & Association, 2001, p. 3) .

Western (allopathic) medicine focuses primarily on treating the symptoms of an illness; while in contrast, holistic medicine seeks to "promote optimal health, and as a by-product, to prevent and treat disease." (Trivieri & Association, p. 12) Holistic health is a broad term which includes many diverse disciplines including chiropractics , aromatherapy and yoga. It aims to empower patients to treat themselves through conscious lifestyle choices, and provides diagnoses based on a myriad of factors which may play a role in the patient's life (Ibid).

The "average household" will be used in a general sense, the scope being limited to places of residence (houses and apartment buildings) within North America.

Indoor air pollution is defined as "the presence substances within a home's atmosphere that could negatively affect human health." (Bower, 2000, p. 522) These pollutants are found in varying concentrations, grouped into three main categories: particulates, gases, and disease-causing organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Even trace amounts can "wreak havoc on human health" (McDonough & Braungart, 1998, p. 86), with more noticeable short term effects including the aggravation of existing illnesses such as asthma. In extreme situations, death can occur, as is sometimes the case in carbon monoxide poisoning. Perhaps most disturbing is the results of the accumulation of pollutants over...