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Health SA Gesondheid (Online)

On-line version ISSN 2071-9736
Print version ISSN 1025-9848

Health SA Gesondheid (Online) vol.14 n.1 Cape Town  2009




Health, well-being and wellness: An anthropological eco-systemic approach



Tiaan G.J.C. Kirsten; Hannes J.L. van der Walt; Charles T. Viljoen

School of Education, North-West University, South Africa





More than two decades ago, Fritjof Capra commended - and indeed advocated - a paradigm shift in health science and care. In his book The Turning Point (1982) he talks of a major shift from the preoccupation with micro-organisms to a careful study of the 'host organism and its environment', of 'significant attempts to develop a unified approach to the mind/body system' in Western medicine, of 'a new holistic paradigm' (as opposed to 'the old biomedical paradigm') regarding the problem of health and healing, of 'a holistic and humanistic approach to primary care', and of 'a holistic therapy' as opposed to 'the traditional biochemical practice of associating a physical disease with a specific physical cause'. Our concern in this article is with the paradigm shift advocated by Capra in this book and the progress that has since been made.

Keywords: wellness; holistic; unitas complex; biomedical model; Capra


Meer as twee dekades gelede het Fritjof Capra 'n pleidooi gelewer vir 'n paradigmaskuif vanaf die biomediese model na 'n meer holistiese, ekosistemiese model van gesondheid en genesing. Die vraag wat in hierdie artikel aan die orde kom is of praktisyns in die veld van die gesondheidswetenskappe sedertdien daarin geslaag het om die oorgang na die aanbevole paradigma te maak. 'n Oorsig van die literatuur sedert 1982 toon dat die skuif nog nie regtig gemaak is nie. 'n Ander literatuuroorsig toon voorts dat die terme 'gesondheid', 'well-being' en 'wellness' as uitruilbaar beskou word en dat hulle betekenisse meermale afhang van die gebruikskonteks. Op grond van hulle bespreking van die antropologiese ekosistemiese benadering tot gesondheid en genesing stel die outeurs voor dat die terme 'gesondheid' en 'wellness' as korrelatiewe gebruik word, en dat die term 'well-being' gebruik word vir al die domeine van menslike lewe en bestaan wat kan bydra tot gesondheid, oftewel 'wellness'.



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Tiaan Kirsten
Internal Box 34
North-West University
Private Bag X 6001
Potchefstroom, 2521
South Africa

Received: 07 May 2008
Accepted: 21 Oct. 2008
Published: 24 Apr. 2009

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