What is Health?
As we approach the topic of prevention and healthy lifestyles
we need to begin by establishing what health is and what
it is that we seek to prevent. All methods of healing, alternativ
and allopathic alike, base their treatments on their individual
concepts of health.
Health can be seen as a static state of the body marked
by the absolute absence of any physical or mental inconveniences
and difficulties. These can be called illnesses and diseases.
Health can also be understood as a fluid state oscillating
between minor conditions that your bodys immune system
can easily fight on its own. Illnesses or diseases would
be situations in which your bodys self-defense mechanism
A third concept of health is to see it as an energy balance
that may fluctuate, but always evens out again. Disease,
then, is the continuous imbalance in your energy system.
It is very easy to see why the first definition of health
as a static state may not be very healthy. It does not allow
any room for our body to participate in dealing with the
outside forces that we are exposed to daily. A perfectly
natural process is considered an illness, thus further burdening
us with a negative image. This, however, is usually how
allopathic medicine approaches health.
In contrast, the following thesis understands health as
an organic state in constant movement which is always relative
to each individuals immune system. It combines the
last two definitions of health in that it sees beyond the
material of the human body and takes into account its energy
blueprint as well.
What is Healing?
As we talk about health, we also need to consider the instance
when health has been lost and needs to be regained. The
concept of healing is very crucial not only for treatment,
but also for considerations of maintaining health and a
Experiences with allopathic medicine have taught many of
us that healing comes from the doctors intervention
in form of medication and/or treatment. This intervention
needs to be continued until all symptoms are gone. Any interruption
of the treatment constitutes a threat to the healing process.
Here, the doctor is the giver, and the patient the recipient
In contrast, Alternative Medicine sees the process of healing
closely related to the patient themselves. In the case of
this thesis, which understands illnesses as situations where
the bodys own immune system is overwhelmed and the
body is experiencing a prolonged energy imbalance, the primary
work in healing is done by the body of the patient itself.
Outside intervention, in whatever form it is given, is nothing
more than assistance for the body to regain its own self-healing
powers. The intensity of any treatment is lowered step by
step in order to not suppress the immune system.
In this understanding of healing, diseases can lose much
of their overwhelming threat. With a little impulse, patients
are able to stand up to most challenges their bodies face.
They are not dependent on outside treatment, but are empowered
to heal themselves and regain health.
The Holistic Approach To Health
From Allopathic to Alternative Medicine, health practitioners
have slowly begun to broaden their view of the factors that
should be considered in maintaining health. From symptoms
over physical causes to the body-mind connection we have
come to understand human beings as a whole of body, mind,
and spirit. Every aspect of this whole contributes to a
However, there are two more areas which this thesis considers
important for maintenance of health and a healthy lifestyle:
these are a persons culture, and their environment.
All human beings are cultural beings. Culture defines our
world. In order to understand a human being as a whole we
need to also understand their thinking patterns, their expectations
in interpersonal contacts and their ideas of right and wrong
as they are defined by their individual culture. In a world
where cultures cross paths regularly, it has become imperative
to be culturally sensitive as a healer. Culture will hold
the key to understanding a persons reasoning and their
feelings, and to make suggestions for appropriate treatment
The second area to be considered is the environment. When
we speak of environment in this context, we are less concerned
with what is known as Environmental Medicine which deals
with air pollutants and chemicals found in our surroundings.
Rather, we are talking about the energetic makeup of the
social, cultural, physical and natural environment of a
person. All of these environments emit a certain energy
frequency which will consequently affect the individual
exposed to it.
Feng Shui, for example, is the ancient Chinese art of locating
energy blockages within a house. These blockages allow the
practitioner of Feng Shui to identify corresponding stagnations
that the person living in this environment experiences.
By lifting the energy blockages in the house, Feng Shui
has a positive impact on the inhabitants life as well.
Health and Life
There is a German proverb that says: No wish is greater
than the wish to be healthy. All of us who have been
challenged by a serious condition know that without our
health, nothing else in life matters or will move forward
Alternative treatment methods assess a person as a whole,
in their physical, mental, and spiritual aspects. They believe
these aspects of a being to be causally connected, and there
are many examples, experiential as well as scientific, that
prove this conviction to be true. Now we understand that
all of the above areas are factors in health.
If we were to establish, then, what differentiates this
understanding of health from life, we would quickly be at
a loss. In truth, any area of a persons life is connected
to their health, and whatever facilitates health, will also
facilitate life. The underlying concepts are the same. We
call health in relation to our bodies what we call success
in relation to life. If we fail in the arena of health,
we are faced with physical or emotional ailments, and if
we fail in the arena of life we are unsuccessful.
In other words, a truly holistic approach to health naturally
includes strategies for a successful life. As we recognize
the interactions, we can no longer artificially separate
health from life.