Complementary Integrative Herbalism by Don Ollsin

Complementary because we focus on complementing any healing and medical modalities the client is already using, with our choice of herbs and healing paradigms such as; Ayurveda, Shamanism and Dreambody.

Integrative because we embrace a living systems approach. This means that we view every client as an open, non-linear system, that fluctuates far from equilibrium. What this means is that a human being is in an open, dynamic relationship with her environment, both internal and external. She is structurally changing in a dynamic way, as she interfaces with all aspects of her life, both inner and outer (structural coupling).

"Bogdanov recognized that living systems are open systems that operate far from equilibrium." Systems View of Life - Capra & Luisi

As systems thinking herbalists, we integrate the biological, social, ecological and spiritual dimensions of our client's life. In the biological dimension, we know the biomedical model and the allopathic or alternative treatment our clients are already using. We are aware of drugs prescribed by their doctor, and of any serious signs or symptoms.

* The biomedical model focuses on the diagnosis of disease and the interruption of disease. Our focus is on the well-being of our clients, which includes the necessary treatment of any disease they have been diagnosed with. We research any unwanted conflicts between pharmaceuticals prescribed and the herbs they may adopt into their well-being practice.

Our rule is to: 

"treat the person, not the disease."

We address the social dimension of our client's life by addressing their relationships and the effect they are having on them. In the ecological we consider what environment the client is existing in, and whether that environment has a positive or negative effect on their well-being. We also acknowledge and explore the spiritual element by addressing the client's inner life, mental and emotional well-being. To illustrate what we mean we share the following case study.

Recently we had a client contact us about depression. On going through the different dimensions of her system we discovered that she had lost contact with her friends, which were very important to her. We also discovered that she was not taking any personal time to feed her spirit. Both of these realizations resonated deeply with her.

We did suggest St. Johnswort as she lived in a Northern climate. Interestingly she was unable to find any St Johnswort where she lived (European Country) and the next time we checked in she was feeling much happier and less depressed. She had scheduled regular meet ups with her friends and she was taking some alone time to nourish her soul. That is what we mean by a systems approach.

Our goal is to be complementary to any healing or medical modalities our clients are using. Our primary goal is to educate the client, and to make them aware of the multiple aspects of their life that contribute to, or hinder their sense of well-being.

 Nonlinear dynamics, then, represents a qualitative rather than a quantitative approach to complexity and thus embodies the shift of perspective that is characteristic of systems thinking –from objects to relationships, from measuring to mapping, from quantity to quality.


* The Biomedical Model from System’s View of Life by Capra & Luisi

“The conceptual foundation of modern scientific medicine is the so-called biomedical model, which is firmly grounded in Cartesian thought (see Section 2.4). As we have discussed, the conceptual problem at the center of contemporary healthcare is the confusion between the origins of disease and the processes through which it manifests itself. Rather than asking why an illness occurs and trying to remove the conditions that led to it, medical researchers and practitioners often limit themselves to understanding the mechanisms through which the disease operates, so that they can then interfere with them. A systemic approach, by contrast, would broaden the scope from the levels of organs and cells to the whole person –to the patient's body and mind, as well as his or her interactions with a particular natural and social environment. Such a broad, systemic perspective will enable health professionals to better understand the phenomenon of healing, which today is often considered outside the scientific framework. Although every practicing physician knows that healing is an essential part of all medical care, the phenomenon is presently not part of scientific medicine. The reason is evident: it is a phenomenon that cannot be understood when health is reduced to mechanical functioning.”