Holistic health and contemplative well-being is based on the philosophy of working with the whole person and recognizing contextual factors that influence health.

It is a system of principles and multidisciplinary approaches that promote well-being by considering the inter-connectedness among a person's physical, psychological, social, spiritual and environmental levels of functioning. Rather than using a reductionist approach where individual aspects are studied and treated separately, holism recognizes that every aspect has an influence on all the others and must be attended to in a complimentary way.


The holistic health and contemplative well-being program at Western Michigan University was established in 1982 as integrative holistic health and wellness. It is one of the first academic programs of its kind in the United States.

Video of Celebrating 30 years of Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness

Mission and goals


The mission of the holistic health and contemplative well-being program is to cultivate the systemic and interconnected relationships of the individual's body, mind and spirit to positively enhance personal, professional, community and global health.


  • To increase students' knowledge regarding holistic health practices and theory.

  • To develop skills that will positively enhance personal, community and global health and wellness.

  • To cultivate awareness of the interconnection between body, mind, spirit and relationships of all types in order to affect attitudinal change regarding health and wellness.

  • To ensure that students have the ability to apply the knowledge, skills and awareness of holistic health and wellness in their personal and professional lives.

  • To promote sensitivity to the issues of diversity and multiculturalism within the continuum of individual and global health and wellness.