Mission Statement and Center Description
The purpose of the Holistic Health Learning Center (HHLC) is to provide an interactive, user-friendly environment in which people can explore the art and science of health and healing. The Center provides a comprehensive, integrated collection of resources emphasizing self-health care. We believe each person and their particular condition is unique. We see the individual, not professionals or institutions, as the primary healing agent. We encourage self-motivated, self-directed learning with emphasis on the quality of life through the development of specific life skills and ecological supports that help people reduce personal stress and optimize their health.
The Center is a comfortable and creative learning environment that encourages people to relax and engage in their own unique search for meaning. It is more than a library or a collection of resources; it is a learning hub where people, ideas, activities and possibilities meet. The Center's walls are covered with healing images and charts of alternative therapies; plants and creative/interactive objects are everywhere - it is a very humanized, hands-on kind of place. Staffed by student volunteers, the HHLC is open and free to all San Francisco State University students, faculty and staff.
The Holistic Paradigm
Holism sees reality as multidimensional and honors multiple ways of knowing; each perspective brings added value and insight into personal and cultural understanding. Everything is seen as connected and related to the integrity of the whole
“... A holistic education emphasizes relationships between thinking and intuition, mind and body, individual and community, personal self and greater Self (the spiritual dimension of experience). Holistic education seeks transformation, that is, the continuing growth of the person and society.”
-Jack Miller, author: The Holistic Consciousness
Holistic thinking explores and formulates a new understanding of human nature and society. It emphasizes the integration of disciplines, cross-cultural understandings and new paradigm studies. Holistic health offers an integrated model of care weaving together the social and natural sciences, the arts and humanities and the wisdom teachings of traditional societies.
Why A Holistic Health Center?
Demographic research is revealing a strong cultural shift in the way Americans perceive healthcare and medicine. Every year we are spending more on holistic therapies. During the 1990’s visits to alternative health providers grew over 65% and expenditures for holistic health practices (meditation, yoga, acupuncture, etc.) grew by 45%. (Eisenberg et al, 1998) According to a recent survey (May, 2004) by the National Institute of Health, 36% of adults in the US are using some form of alternative health care. If vitamins and prayer are included under this umbrella, the percentage jumps to 62%. Internationally recognized forms of botanical healing such as Ayurveda, Chinese herbal medicine, and western naturopathic medicine have further been added to this percentage.
Many Americans are turning to holistic health and natural health practices to reduce the stress and strain of modern life to bring greater balance and meaning to daily life, and to prevent the symptoms of illness common in our culture. Conventional medicine tends diagnose and treat disease after it is already present. The goal of natural/holistic healthcare is prevention and health enhancement, through self-care education and the development of a wise and healthy lifestyle.
In 1998 congress responded to this growing consumer demand by establishing the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. NCCAM’s goals included research and development support for this burgeoning field including support for CAM education. Currently 102 of the nation’s 125 accredited MD programs include complementary medicine (CM) in one or more of their required courses. The Mayo Clinic, Stanford University, UCSF and other prominent medical institutions around the country are using natural and mind-body treatments with their patients to encourage recovery from more invasive conventional medical practices of surgery and chemotherapy.
Another sign of the growing cultural awareness of the importance of natural health care, is the recent (2004) licensure of Naturopathic doctors (ND), in California. California has become the 12th state to license physicians and train providers who employ nutrition, botanical medicine, somatic therapy, homeopathy, and other natural remedies to support the patients own self-healing capacity. (American Association of Naturopathic Physicians)
With research money becoming available, some of the claims of ancient treatment systems are becoming validated. A UCLA study reported in the Journal of Biological Chemotherapy, found that curcumin, the yellow pigment in Indian spicy curry may be more effective in recovering the build-up of plague in the brain, then many of the leading drugs currently being tested. “Curcumin has been used for thousands of years as a safe anti-inflammatory in a variety of ailments as part of Indian (Ayurvedic) traditional medicine,” noted Gregory Cole, UCLA researcher and professor of medicine. “Recent successful studies in animal models support. its possible use for diseases of aging involving oxidative damage and inflammation like Alzheimers, cancer and heart disease.”
There are literally thousands of such articles appearing in academic and popular journals. Since 1995 the Holistic Health Learning Center has been actively gathering information about cross-cultural healing methods and evidence-based health care alternatives. We invite you to visit the Center and see for yourself. Also see our Links page for an extensive list of such organizations helping to define and integrate complementary and alternative forms of care.
The Center is supported by charitable donations and is affiliated with the Institute for Holistic Health Studies (IHHS), Department of Health Education.
SFSU Holistic Health Learning Center
HSS 329, 415/338-6416