Even our bodies are subdivided into various parcels. Health care has gerrymandered* our bodies into territories that are convenient for caregivers to treat. Focusing on a problem that is in the heart or kidneys also allows caregivers to specialize in treating these organs, honing their skills and deepening their clinical knowledge. The enormously rapid pace of development of medical research makes it impossible for any one person to master all of medical practice. So, in the name of efficiency, we have a medical system that trains doctors to care for parts of people, but often neglects the person who brings the problem for treatment.
The result is that people feel neglected - however well their various limbs and organs are being addressed. One of my favorite cartoons from the New Yorker pictures a patient at the receptionist's desk, asking "Does the doctor hug?"
The body is the focus of conventional medicine to such an extent that many doctors have little training in understanding or dealing with psychological problems. Western medicine has been successful in curing acute problems, particularly infections and trauma. It is less successful with chronic illnesses, where symptom management is the focus, and where psychological components are present - certainly in response to the stresses of being ill, and often in contributing to the development of the illness in the first place through poor stress management.
In the physical world of conventional medicine, we tend to view things in either/or fashion. Either the pain is caused by an infection, by trauma, or by some other cause. Wholistic medicine tends more towards both/and understandings of illnesses and approaches for dealing with problems on all levels.
What a healing we might have from the Russian word, danyet. Da means yes and nyet means no. Combine the two and you get something that is both yes and no - blending in the same word, in the same feeling; not alternating back and forth between a polar, separate yes and a distant, separate no, but intimately intertwined and inextricably parts of each other. Colloquial German similarly uses jain for ja (yes) and nein (no) combined.
The Chinese have vastly expanded upon appreciation of the polarities in life, acknowledging that absolutely everything in the world is a contrast to everything else. Yin, the feminine, is seen in open, receptive, Yang, the masculine, is expressed in assertive, forceful, outgoing actions.
At first it seems as though yin and yang are dichotomizing, but as we delve deeper, we see that the opposite is actually the case. Yin is the shady side of a slope, representing cold, darkness, passivity, resting, inward movement, and decreasing, feminine, receptive. Yang is the sunny side of a slope, that stands for warmth, light, energy, moving outward, growing, masculine, assertive. Everything has yin and yang qualities, either of which may be more apparent relative to different relationships. Temperature can be hotter or colder; weight can be lighter or heavier; light can be brighter or dimmer, and so on. Infinite subdivisions and permutations are possible within any relationship. The back of the body is yang relative to the front, but the front at the chest is yang relative to the belly.
While yin is separate from yang, each depends upon the other to be in a relationship with itself in order to define itself. Health would not be appreciated as health were it not for illness. A terrorist could not be a terrorist or a martyr without an enemy against whom to fight. America could not be the defender of freedom without someone to defend against.