The term holistic can mean many different things, but to me it means involving the whole person in reaching their own solutions and that includes involving their senses. We were born into this world with the gift of senses and it is how we first experienced life. So, I fail to understand how language alone can help us understand our own personal way of being. In fact it can often limit our understanding. How often have you said 'I cant quite put it into words but....'
Memories are not just expressed in language. For example, we have a gustatory memory and an olfactory memory. Our first memories were formed from being fed milk, held close and soothed. Those first sensory experiences will help us form patterns of behaviour that will stay with us for life.
Sensory memories are stored in different parts of the brain, so in conditions such as dementia as the brain becomes more fragile and language becomes harder to grasp, we still retain sensory memories.
This is the basis of the Haven programme of nature therapy and dementia care - helping people to retain communication through sensory experiences.