About IHHS

Bonsai treeMission Statement

The mission of the Institute for Holistic Health Studies (IHHS) is to provide SF State students and the broader community with a deeper understanding of health, healing, and optimal well-being from a holistic perspective, integrating diverse cultural, historical, and interdisciplinary ideas and practices from around the world. The Institute is committed to excellence in teaching, research and service, and to the dissemination of an innovative health promotion curriculum in higher education, one that recognizes the fundamental interconnectedness of life and of our responsibility as global citizens.

The Vision of the Institute for Holistic Health Studies

  • To educate students and the broader community in the principles and practices of Holistic Health in relation to self-care, healthcare, and social/ecological stewardship.
  • Integrate holistic health views into health education/health promotion curricula
  • Share this unique Holistic Health Studies model with universities nationally

A Brief History

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies (IHHS) and the Holistic Health Studies curriculum evolved out of courses taught through the Center for Interdisciplinary Science (CIS) at San Francisco State University. Established in 1974, CIS was a pioneering program exploring interdisciplinary perspectives in physical and biological sciences in the School of Science. In 1976 the founding Director of CIS, Dr. George Araki, offered two new courses in holistic health, "New Approaches for Health and Self-Regulation," and "Research Seminar in Holistic Health." The growing popularity and demand for holistic health courses inspired the birth of a new program of study, resulting in a Minor in Holistic Health (Spring 1981), the Institute for Holistic Healing Studies (Fall 1986), and a Holistic Health Certificate (Fall 1991). In 1993 IHHS moved into the College of Health and Human Services and became part of the Department of Health Education.

George ArakiOn October 26, 1999 Dr. George Araki retired from the university after 24 years with IHHS. He passed away in 2006. Thanks to his vision and dedication San Francisco State became the first university in the United States to offer a comprehensive program of study in this pioneering field. His inspiration lives on in the work of our faculty and students. Today we offer over 20 Holistic Health Studies classes, serving nearly 1,000 students a semester from all departments on campus, making this nationally unique program one of the oldest and most comprehensive in the United States. A simple phrase that George kept at the front of his desk: 

Cease doing harm. Seek to do good. - The Buddha