Natural Health - Up Close and Personal
Are You Reaping the Benefits in Your Life?
Over the past 25 years, I've seen an explosion of interest in Natural Health. People are becoming quite familiar with the terms natural, holistic and alternative health, a far cry from when I began to work in this field. As a matter of fact, I started out calling on fitness clubs and gyms with a desire to offer holistic nutrition counseling and was often met with a perplexed look and a comment such as "What does nutrition have to do with fitness?" Can you believe it?
Most folks appreciate that body, mind and spirit are all involved in the healing process. Mainstream medicine has taken notice. Here are just a few interesting acknowledgments:
In Healthcare Review, 3/12/03, an article by Todd Hanson: Harvard Medical School reported that complementary and alternative medicine nas become a permanent part of medicine. Mainly spurred on by mature, health-conscious baby boomers, visits to alternative therapy practitioners--ranging from herbal medicine to energy healing--have increased 47% since 1990. Healthcare professionals, including physicians trained in oriental medicine, will increase to 24,000 by the year 2010. The number of chiropractors will nearly double from 55,000 to 103,000."
In Psychology Today, 3/2001, an article entitled, "Guide to Natural Health" by Norine Dworki stated: "JAMA's survey cites that the number of Americans using alternative therapies increased from 60 million in 1990 to 83 million in 1997. With the advent of conventional medicine, many of those therapies went by the wayside even though they were used for centuries. Today, two-fifths of Americans use some form of complementary or alternative medicine; some projections expect this to increase to at least two-thirds by 2010."
Let's qualify natural health for clarity. Health by itself is a state of being or condition that can be described as vibrancy, wholesomeness, abundant energy, balance or wellness. Descriptive words such as natural or holistic are coupled with the word health to further express the dynamic aspects of living healthy-- a more explicit way to approach it. Natural also constitutes derived from nature, in harmony with nature or occurring in nature. One recognizes and accepts that nature provides therapeutic complements to the innate capacity to heal.
Holistic in Merriam-Webster dictionary is defined as "relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts." For the individual who desires to approach health in a holistic way, it would take into account one's lifestyle. It begins with a mindset to appreciate the foundational precepts involved in building and maintaining health. Here are 10 important ones:
1) A highly-nutritious diet providing fuel at cellular level - It begins with the ingestion of healthy food, but also requires proper digestion, absorption and assimilation of the nutrients.
2) Exercise/movement - The human body requires activity for many reasons such as bone density, oxygenation, healthy weight management, increased circulation, stamina and endurance, strength, flushing of toxins, and mental/emotional well-being. It is a requirement for longevity.
3) Clean air - We require oxygen to live. The brain cells begin to die when deprived of oxygen after 4 to 6 minutes. Much has been written on air pollution. Indoor air is typically more polluted than outdoor air due to a build up of toxic mold, chemicals and poor ventilation. Our awareness of how we impact personally our environment is key. We should be proactive in choosing non-toxic products (aerosols, sprays, and products that outgas) and, if necessary, utilizing beneficial purification methods.
4) Pure Water - Every cell requires water in order to perform its essential functions. It is necessary to maintain equilibrium, digestion and assimilation, and can be a shock absorber for joints, muscles and bones. It flushes out wastes and toxins, lubricates tissues and hydrates the skin. Digestive juices are 98% organic water.
5) Adequate Rest and Restful sleep - Down time gives us the opportunity to regroup, calm and become centered. Sleep is truly refreshing and is necessary for an alert mind and optimal functioning. We do most of our healing during deep sleep.
6) Satisfying work - When we enjoy what we do, we feel a sense of accomplishment, fulfillment and purpose. This can also encompass the work we do in "giving back" or serving others.
7) Proper Elimination - When wastes back up, they take their toll on the body. Poor bowel management is often the underlying cause of many health problems.
8) Humor and Laughter - Besides triggering the release of endorphins, our body's natural painkillers, the immune system sees an increase in the numbers of antibodies. Humor can ease tension, stress and at the appropriate time may defuse a potential escalating argument.
9) Feeding the spirit - We are not only what we eat, but what we think about, dwell upon and sound down into our hearts. Feeding the spirit is key to how healthy our mental and emotional make-up is.
10) Being grateful - How we view our circumstances and life in general will help determine whether or not we progress towards healing. If you want to change your life around, try gratefulness.
When we are diligent in these areas, we have a firm grasp on the pathway to health. We see benefits such as:
• maximum energy
• peak mental performance
• healthy weight/be fit and toned
• keen awareness of toxins
• a strong immune system
• calm in the midst of life's storms
• a healthier home and work environment
Are you reaping the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle?
I like what Aristotle had to say about a way of approach in this life: "If one way be better than another, that you may be sure is nature's way." We know the human body is composed mostly of elements which are abundant in the earth's crust. In the grand scheme of things, we are all connected. Man cannot duplicate what nature produces to match-up with our physical needs. Chief Seatlle put it this way:
"All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth
Befalls the sons of the earth.
Man did not weave the web of life,
He is merely a strand in it.
Whatever he does to the web,
He does to himself."