The World Health Organization definition of health is: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Implicit in this concept is the body’s ability to maintain its inner environment and protect itself from attack of micro-organisms and other environmental factors including stress in all its forms.
To the practitioners at Core Naturopathics, a person’s ability to protect themselves from stressors, either physical, mental or spiritual is a very important part of our health definition.
An old, wise adage I remember reading in my early days in practice went like this: “It is better to build a safety rail at the top of the cliff than to have an ambulance at the bottom”.
My interpretation of the safety rail analogy is a robust, enduring health that allows the body to defend itself effectively with a minimum use of its own recourses.
Unfortunately, somewhere in the not so distant past, people seem to have turned this adage around. Modern medicine uses powerful methods to provide the instant resolution their patients seek, sometimes with strong side effects. Traditional medicine seeks to enhance the body’s own ability to heal, often taking a slower, deeper path to resolution. Surely there is need for both these approaches in their appropriate circumstances. Just as surely, we need to find integration born of co-operation between these paradigms.
Circumventing illness is immensely better practice than treating illness. It is vastly cheaper financially for the community than resource hungry management of chronic illness. Unfortunately, it seems to me, that many people are placing themselves only part of way down the path of meaningful health practice and good, health affirming life choices. This half-hearted attempt to stay healthy leaves them significantly exposed to ill-health. When symptoms become evident, the ‘magic bullet’ is often sought.
It is only in the modern era that we have had the luxury of surviving with our poor health choices. The advent of modern medicine with its life preserving drugs, surgery and other methods of prolonging life has made it possible for us to indulge to a degree not dreamed of in the past.
This is not an indictment of modern medicine, simply a discussion about how to incorporate its many blessings into a health driven consciousness.