East meets West: applying Eastern spirituality in clinical practice

J Clin Nurs. 2006 Jul;15(7):822-32. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2006.01649.x.


Aims and objectives: The paper discusses the application of the Eastern body-mind-spirit approach in healthcare practice.

Background: Traumas, sufferings and losses may induce immense distress in patients and their families, as well as apathy and exhaustion in healthcare workers. Over-specialization and compartmentalization of services may provide a convenient shelter for healthcare workers to be detached and to simply focus on a narrowly defined scope of intervention. However, the existential problems are still there. Based upon eastern philosophies and holistic health practices, we propose the body-mind-spirit approach in healthcare settings.

Methods: This is a review paper summarizing the application of the approach on various clinical populations.

Results: The approach has been trialled with promising results in a number of health conditions and psychosocial predicaments. Spirituality is not restricted to any religious practices, nor is it narrowed to the pursuit of knowledge at a high level of abstraction. The interconnectedness of the body, mind and spirit presupposes that the practice of spirituality is multidimensional and multi-levelled.

Conclusions: Using the body-mind-spirit framework flexibly we can engage more clients while facilitating the important process of exploration and change. The key components include getting in touch with the inner self, coming back to our senses, connecting our body and mind and rebalancing our relationship with the natural and social environment. The ultimate goal is to move out of meaninglessness and to reach a state of mature spirituality of tranquillity and transcendence.

Relevance to clinical practice: The practice of spirituality can be easily applied to daily life.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Altruism
  • Buddhism / psychology*
  • Confucianism / psychology*
  • Grief
  • Holistic Health
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Life Change Events*
  • Love
  • Mind-Body Relations, Metaphysical*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Philosophy, Nursing
  • Religion and Psychology
  • Religious Philosophies / psychology
  • Self Efficacy
  • Spirituality*
  • Trust