ABOUT WCSU INSTITUTE FOR HOLISTIC HEALTH STUDIES (IHHS)
The Institute for Holistic Health Studies (IHHS) is housed within WCSU's Department of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences (HPX). The mission of the IHHS is to provide the University and Greater Danbury area with an opportunity to engage in and explore different aspects of holistic and integrative health through programming and instruction. Our holistic perspective on health and healing integrates conventional healing with traditional and modern alternative practices from around the world.
What is Holistic Health?
Holistic health is an approach to life that considers multidimensional aspects of wellness. It encourages individuals to recognize the whole person: physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual. The individual is an active participant in their health decisions and healing processes, including wellness-oriented lifestyle choices. Holistic approaches to health are derived from ancient healing traditions that help to achieve higher levels of wellness and prevent disease. These approaches include use of traditional medical systems, mind-body-spirit interventions, manipulative and body-based approaches, biological based therapies and energy therapies. Most of these approaches are used in combination with each other and with conventional medicine to provide a holistic and integrated approach to health. These traditional holistic approaches focus on the use of food, herbs, supplements, teas, homeopathic remedies, and essential oils as “medicine”. Movement, dancing, singing or chanting, sound and vibration, drumming, prayer, meditation, mindfulness, and touch are examples of activities that are included in holistic approaches. Holistic approaches include but are not limited to: acupuncture, acupressure, biofeedback, massage therapy, chiropractic physicians, manual therapy, naturopathic physicians, meditation, guided imagery, yoga, therapeutic touch, reiki and other energy therapies, and ayurveda. On campus, the interest and enthusiasm for this inclusive and multidimensional approach to health and wellness has resulted in the development of a concentration in Holistic and Integrative health within the Health Promotion Studies major at WCSU.
Health Promotion Studies Degree, Holistic and Integrative Health Option
In Fall 2015, the Department of Health Promotion and Exercise Sciences offered a new option in Holistic and Integrative Health in our Health Promotion Studies Degree program. As a result of the increased national interest in complementary and alternative health practices there are expanding opportunities in the areas of medical care, health promotion, and lifestyle. Our Health Promotion Studies degree program prepares students to assess, design, plan, implement, and evaluate health promotion programs for worksites, fitness facilities, public health departments, voluntary health agencies, community-based organizations, community clinics, and hospitals. The Holistic and Integrative Health Option supports the growing national interest in complementary and alternative health practices. Healthcare providers, such as nurses, physical and occupational therapists, dieticians, dentists, physicians, pharmacists and psychologists need to understand the use of alternative health practices by their patients. Healthcare providers are creating environments that include allopathic practitioners and holistic practitioners within the same setting, providing patients/clients with an integrative and complementary approach to care. These innovative approaches to health promotion and disease prevention are becoming increasingly important, leading to career opportunities in business, teaching, research and counseling. There is an increasing need for practitioners in emerging healthcare fields including naturopathic medicine, acupuncture, integrative nutrition, and massage therapy. The option in Holistic and Integrative Health provides an understanding of important holistic health concepts and practices relevant to many health and social service related careers. Students will explore the diverse systems that are considered complementary or integrative health and will gain an awareness of the philosophies of health and healing that unite all of these systems. This includes a critical examination of concepts and practices from around world to provide the student with an understanding of the cultural and historical underpinnings of various systems of healing. The benefits of emphasizing wellness, building a strong relationship between provider and client, promoting self-healing, and using nutritional approaches, traditional methods and other natural healing techniques are the areas of focus.